Dale Bruner murder trial starts today in Breckenridge
Ryan Summerlin July 17, 2012
Almost two years after his wife’s killing, wildlife photographer Dale Bruner will go before a Summit County jury today to stand trial on charges of second-degree murder and assault.
The attorneys are set to give opening statements this afternoon, after an extensive jury selection process from a pool of 300 jurors that began Monday.
The trial is scheduled to continue through the end of next week.
Bruner, formerly of Silverthorne, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence following his wife’s killing in November 2010. He was indicted by a grand jury in August 2011.
Bruner reported Stephanie Roller Bruner, a former county employee, dance instructor and mother of three, missing from the couple’s home in Silverthorne just before Thanksgiving 2010, saying she went out for a walk the night before and never returned.
Search and rescue teams searched for three days, as temperatures dipped below zero at night, before finding Roller Bruner’s frozen body in the Blue River near her house.
The cause of death was later ruled a combination of blunt force trauma, strangulation, hypothermia and drowning.
Bruner was identified soon after as the prime suspect.
Court records and family accounts paint a picture of a troubled marriage in the weeks leading up to Roller Bruner’s death.
The couple reportedly fought after Roller Bruner was laid off from her job with the county government. She would later take out a restraining order against her husband and eventually filed for divorce on Nov. 1.
Several people who knew the couple, including Bruner’s former girlfriend, said he had a history of physical abuse, according to court documents.
The couple’s three children are now living with Roller Bruner’s brother and his wife in California.
Bruner has since moved to Fort Collins.