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Second-degree murder trial opens

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Published:   |   Updated: September 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

BROOKSVILLE - Back on the night of Feb. 25, 2012, 911 operator Audra Taurozzi received an unusual call, even for a dispatcher.

"I just shot my wife," said Alan Osterhoudt Jr., who was calling from their Spring Hill home.

Osterhoudt, now 63, told Taurozzi he had gotten in an argument with his wife and shot her. He told the dispatcher he placed the handgun in a drawer in the house and would be waiting outside for law enforcement.

About two weeks later, Osterhoudt was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm.

He was released from jail on $250,000 bond and has spent the last year and a half under house arrest, with few exceptions, awaiting trial.

Eight jurors were selected to hear the trial on Monday. Seven of the jurors are female, and two of the eight are alternate jurors.

During his opening argument Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney Bill Catto said jurors would see pieces of evidence from the scene, including sandals, fingernail clippings, a key ring found close to Maria Osterhoudt's body and the weapon, a .38 special revolver.

Catto said there was no evidence to suggest Maria Osterhoudt scratched her husband before he allegedly shot her.

"What it all boils down to more than anything else is what you'll hear on the 911 tape, 'I just shot my wife, we were having an argument,' the voice of Alan Osterhoudt Jr.," Catto said.

Defense attorney Kenneth Foote said in his opening statement the death of Maria Osterhoudt was a "tragic event" and that "things are not always what they seem."

"This is a case of jumping to conclusions," Foote said, adding the state's case against Osterhoudt is only based on the "assumptions made" from his 911 call.

Foote said forensics technicians couldn't find fingerprints on the revolver, and the bullet recovered from Osterhoudt's body didn't necessarily come from Osterhoudt's gun.

Testimony on Tuesday was given by numerous law enforcement officers who responded to the scene on Feb. 25, 2012.

Deputies said when they arrived in the area of 7190 Raymond Place, they approached the home using tactical positions with their rifles drawn.

"We weren't sure of the circumstances, we knew there was a shooting and someone was injured," said Det. Tony Aguiar, who was a deputy at the time.

Aguiar said when the deputies called out for Osterhoudt to come outside, they saw a man laying in the bushes by the front door. When Aguiar asked him to roll over on his stomach, Osterhoudt "didn't respond."

"He didn't resist me or comply either," Aguiar said, adding he eventually had to physically move Osterhoudt on his stomach.

"It was like moving a dead weight," Aguiar said.

Deputy Adam Harris, who took Osterhoudt to the sheriff's office after his arrest, said the man said "my life is over" as he was put into the patrol car.

Law enforcement cleared the house and found Maria Osterhoudt in the bathroom, deceased, laying on her back, with a pool of blood coming from the back of her head and a set of car keys close by.

The trial is expected to continue through Thursday.

wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5283

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