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      Trial begins for man accused of involuntary manslaughter

      There was a crowded Alger County Circuit courtroom Tuesday for the trial of Thomas Murdock who is accused of running over his girlfriend, Lisa Hardwick, with his vehicle in June 2011.

      In opening statements, both the prosecutor and defense attorneys explained that the two had an argument, and Hardwick got out of the vehicle before Murdock ran her over.

      "He then backed up aggressively. According to him, this was due to the mood of the music, as opposed to the argument, but he certainly confirmed for officers that he really slammed into reverse, and then got on the gas," explained Prosecuting Attorney Karen Bahrman.

      In her opening statement, Bahrman also questioned the reliability of the defense's expert witnesses who are scheduled to take the stand later this week.

      "They are experts. I'm not an expert, Ms. Bahrman isn't an expert. Nobody else is an expert, but the court allows you to listen to testimony of experts to draw conclusions. They look at all the factors and circumstances, they look at the photographs that were taken that night, they look at the measurements, they look at the toxicology reports," said Defense Attorney Derek Swajanen.

      Swajanen also told the jury that Murdock's actions should not be considered involuntary manslaughter. Both sides agree Murdock never meant to run over his girlfriend.

      Five witnesses took the stand, including Michigan State Trooper Thomas Nolan, who arrested Murdock for driving drunk the night of the crash.

      "He slammed the vehicle in reverse and accelerated quickly backwards, and at that point felt a thump or a thud. He got out of his truck, then saw that Ms. Hardwick was laying on the ground," said Nolan.

      Murdock is charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, Possession of Marijuana, Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death, and Driving with a Suspended License.

      The trial will continue Wednesday.