Judge approves witness testimony to be heard in Superior murder trial

By KBJR News 1

May 6, 2014 Updated May 6, 2014 at 6:43 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- After hearing pre-trial testimony from several key witnesses the judge in the Juan Padilla murder trial has decided to allow statements made by the defendant to be heard by the jury.

Padilla is the Arizona man accused of shooting Terry Luukkonen to death in May of 2013.

The most telling testimony came from David Vadbunker, who was a former employer of Juan Padilla's in Arizona.

Vadbunker testified over the phone, saying that in December of 2012 Padilla approached him asking if he knew any contractors that could take care of a problem he was having...and that there was someone he had to quote "get rid of".

Vadbunker testifies that Padilla talked about an issue with his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, saying he was getting in the way, and talked about taking a weapon to someone's head.

Judge George Glonek approved the state's motion for Vadbunker's statement to be used during the trial.

The state also filed a motion to allow Padilla's statements to police after the shooting to be admitted to trial.

The defense objected because at the start of the interview detectives asked Padilla if he wanted a lawyer...to which he replied "do I need one" and authorities told him they can't give him that advice.

Padilla then said he quote "didn't know what was going on and was in shock"

"Based upon that issue regarding receiving a lawyer, that the interview should have stopped at that time and we would object to the admissibility of any of the interview that occurs after that point in time," said J. Patrick O'Neill, Padilla's Defense Attorney.

Judge Glonek has not made a ruling on whether to admit Padilla's statement to authorities.

A motion was also approved for testimony by the owner of the Allyndale Motel to be used.

Padilla stayed at that motel during the month prior to the murder.

A pre trial conference is scheduled for August 4

The trial is expected to start on August 18.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati