Accused Racks Murderer Preliminary Hearing

Submitted By: Liz Cooper, lcooper@k2tv.com

The former Pennsylvania marine accused of shooting a man outside a gentleman's club in Natrona County will have his case bound over to district court. Circuit court Judge Huber ruled today that the state has proven there is enough probable cause against John Knospler who is charged with second degree murder. However, the defense attempted to paint a picture of the victim, who they claim had previous run ins with police, and that's when the victims family burst into tears. An investigator with the Natrona County sheriffs office was called to the stand Thursday afternoon and laid out the time of events that took place late October 3rd. He stated that the victim, 24 year old James Baldwin, died of a signle gunshot wound to the chest outside of Racks strip club. The defendant, John Knospler is the man charged with this crime and claims he acted in self defense.

Witnesses say Baldwin and Knospler were conversing through the night at the bar and Baldwin was celebrating his birthday. Both of them were asked to leave at different time according to the investigator, and a bouncer watched Baldwin approach Knospler's car. That's when the bouncer told police he saw Baldwin 'jerk twice' and fall to the ground and then Knospler drove away. The investigator also stated in court this afternoon, an accident expert, who examined the crime scene in the parking lot, said that it seemed a force from the outside caused the driver's side window to shatter. The defense claims, the victim James Baldwin, broke the glass with his hand. In closing arguments, the defense said his client wants his day in court to be heard.

We did speak with the prosecutor Josh Stensaas, over the phone after the hearing...he said this is how he expects the case to play out...and these issues are for a jury to hear and a jury will have an opportunity to review John Knosppler's second degree murder case. Knospler's arraignment, where he will formally plead to the charge will be in the coming months.