Opening statements begin in trial of Apple Valley man accused of killing pregnant wife

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Lawyers laid out their cases Monday in the murder trial of Roger Holland, 36, who is facing both first-degree and second-degree murder charges in the death of his pregnant wife earlier this year.

On March 7, Margorie Holland, 37, was found unresponsive at the bottom of a stairway at the couple's Apple Valley townhouse and died an hour later at a Burnsville hospital.

An autopsy revealed Margorie Holland died from injuries consistent with strangulation. She was 15 weeks pregnant.

Prosecutors said Monday that the couple was in financial trouble and had accumulated $168,000 in debt from credit cards, car loans and tens of thousands of dollars in promissory notes signed by Roger Holland, the Pioneer Press reports.

Dakota County prosecutor Phil Prokopowicz said he strangled his wife after lying to her about having a high-paying job and maxing out her credit cards, the Pioneer Press says.

During the investigation, police found a text message exchange between the two the night before Margorie Holland’s death that indicated she intended to get a divorce. According to the Star Tribune, another text message that night said Margorie Holland was planning to turn her husband in to police for using her credit cards.

A search of data on Roger Holland’s cell phone found an Internet search that had to do with “falling down a flight of stairs and breaking your neck.

The defense said the couple was only about $2,400 behind in their finances over the course of more than a year and text messages between the two are "fights every couple has," the Pioneer Press reports.

Roger Holland's attorney Eric Nelson also said investigators ignored evidence found at the scene such as blood of a third party near Marjorie Holland's body.

The first witness will take the stand Monday afternoon.

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