WAUSAU – Jurors heard dramatic testimony on Wednesday in the third day of the trial of Kristopher Torgerson, accused of killing 22-year-old Stephanie Low in 2010 and burying her body in a Wabeno area forest. Torgerson led police to Low’s body in 2014, nearly four years after she was reported missing.
Torgerson watched intently as witness after witness took the stand. Low’s friend, Shelley Resch, was the first to testify, telling jurors she knew Low sold cocaine from her apartment. Resch, who was one of three people to go to Low’s apartment on Thomas Street Oct. 10, 2010, to check on her when she could not be reached by phone, recalled the scene when she arrived at the apartment. Low’s two dogs were alone and frightened; a blanket was missing; a lone slipper was on the floor and a bloody footprint was found next to the bed, according to Resch’s testimony. A photo of the footprint was shown to jurors.
Claudia Blake, Low’s mother, choked back tears while she described her daughter as a “strong-willed” young woman who wanted to go to college to turn her life around.
Six police officers testified on Wednesday, including Wausau Police Detective Cord Buckner, who spent several hours on the stand. Buckner told jurors how the case unfolded and explained how Torgerson was ultimately identified as a suspect in Low’s death.
The investigation wasn’t an easy one: Buckner read from a transcript of a conversation he and fellow Wausau Detective Bill Kolb had with Torgerson before he was charged, when Kolb told Torgerson there was “no shortage of suspects” in Low’s death.
Prosecutors urged jurors not to allow Low’s drug history to interfere with their judgment as the trial moves forward. But Thomas Wilmouth, Torgerson’s defense attorney, reminded jurors that no physical evidence ties Torgerson to the scene of Low’s murder.
Prosecutors are expected to call between six and eight witnesses to the stand on Thursday as they continue to solidify their case. Torgerson, who is being held in the Marathon County Jail for the duration of the trial, faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, armed robbery and hiding a corpse. He faces life in prison if convicted of the homicide charge alone.