ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Family members are anxious as the trial begins in the fatal shooting of Douglas Lewis on May 1, 2020 in St. Paul.
Douglas Lewis' face is printed on his sister Valerie's shirt with words he posted on Facebook before he was killed: "time heals us gently."
"All I want is fairness," Valerie said.
Anthony Trifiletti shot and killed Douglas Lewis during a roadside confrontation last May. According to court filings, Lewis had bumped Trifiletti's vehicle from behind on a Friday night at the Burns Avenue exit along Highway 61 in St. Paul.
The two men then got out to exchange insurance information when the situation escalated. Prosecutors have said the now 25-year-old Trifiletti, of Watertown, opened fire and struck Lewis four times. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office charged Trifiletti with second degree murder.
Trifiletti and his attorney have argued for months that, as a permit to carry holder, Trifiletti acted in self defense when Lewis allegedly shouted something about a gang and then reached under his shirt as if going for a weapon.
Now, a jury will have to sort it out as the first day of Trifiletti's trial began Monday, with prospective jurors filling out a questionnaire at the Ramsey County Courthouse.
The trial is commencing under strict COVID-19 protocols including a limit on the number of people who can be in the courtroom during proceedings. That means Lewis’ family will have to watch a video feed from an alternate space at the courthouse.
"I just want to be acknowledged," Valerie said. "I just want everybody, whoever is in that room, I want them to know that yes, we are here. We are here. We are Dougie’s voice. We’re the voice for Dougie."
Valerie said the trial is expected to last about two weeks, and she promises to be there every day, hoping to eventually hear Trifiletti explain in his own words why he was so scared he had to shoot to kill.
"I just want him to tell the truth," she said.