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Mittleman jury selected; trial set

By September 13, 2011

Following several days of questioning, jurors were seated last week for the upcoming trial of an El Dorado Hills man accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife last year.

The 12-person jury for the first-degree murder trial of Steve Howard Mittelman will consist of six men and six women. The four-person alternate pool will feature two men and two women.

Jurors were officially selected Sept. 6.

Mittelman, 56, is accused of shooting ex-wife Valerie Rita Mittelman, 63, during a June 2010 argument at the El Dorado Hills apartment the two shared with Mittelman’s current wife.

With jury selection complete, the trial’s opening statements have been set for the morning of Sept. 20 in Judge Daniel B. Proud’s El Dorado County Superior courtroom.

The first-degree murder charge stems from a June 17, 2010, incident during which El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a possible suicide at the Vineyards at Valley View apartment complex.

During pre-trial testimony, deputies testified that Mittelman was found standing outside the apartment, holding a cell phone.

Inside the residence, authorities found Mittelman’s ex-wife seated on the living room couch, covered in blood and with a semi-automatic 40-caliber Glock pistol at her feet.

During that same pre-trial hearing, a sheriff’s detective told the court that several days after his arrest, Mittelman confessed to shooting his ex-wife during a drunken argument.

The investigator said Mittelman was unable to recall what exactly the two had been arguing about, but believed it pertained to their defunct marriage.

Mittelman has pleaded not guilty.

Attorneys have previously said the trial is expected to last 12 days.

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Jim Ratajczak

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