Second-degree murder trial begins at the Wapello County Courthouse

Bobby Joe Snow

The second-degree murder trial of an Ottumwa man began Tuesday in a Wapello County Courtroom.

43-year-old Bobby Joe Snow was arrested for killing James Lee McElroy in May of 2011. Police arrested snow after responding to a disturbance on South Fellows Street. Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Moressi presented her opening arguments before the jury Tuesday afternoon. She said it all started at Cocanana's Bar and Grill on Ottumwaâ??s East Side.

â??James McElroy lived right up the road here, about this house right there, about four houses up from the bar,â?? Moressi explained to the jury. â??He was walking down from down from his house, had some words with the defendant right there. Didnâ??t last long maybe a couple seconds. The defendent peeled out from that point.â??

Snow allegedly struck 23-year-old Robyn Assell-Collett with his car before beating McElroy to death.

The state called two witnesses to the stand Tuesday. The First was the Ottumwa Police officer who was dispatched to the incident.

â??The male was clearly unconscious,â?? Ofc. Michael Sieren said. â??You could tell that he was having trouble breathing to the point of almost snoring while he was unconscious. The female was pretty visibly in pain, she was yelling and screaming, and then multiple people were yelling that she had been ran over by Bobby Snow.

The prosecution showed a dash-cam video from the scene.

The second witness to testify was the owner of the bar where it all started. Glenda Heckart says an altercation occurred between Snow's girlfriend at the time and another woman. She told jurors Snow punched the woman who fought his girlfriend between the eyes. Snow was then kicked out of the bar, and he sped away from the bar rather quickly.

â??I saw two gentlemen, I did not know where they came from, they were walking down the street right here and when they got to they met Bobby at his car,â?? Heckart said. â??One of the gentlemen had a bat and the other one made a punching motion like he had hit Bobby through the car.â??

Heckart told the jury the man without the bat was McElroy. Heckart said she couldn't tell if McElroy actually hit Snow. She says she later heard snow yell something along the lines of, "I just dropped James. Better go check on him." Thatâ??s when police found McElroy unconscious. He later died.

If convicted, Snow faces up to 50 years behind bars. Court reconvenes at 9 a.m. Wednesday.