Wildlife photographer’s murder trial underway in Summit County

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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. -- Opening statements took place Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a Silverthorne man charged with murdering his wife.

Wildlife photographer Dale Bruner is accused of beating and strangling his wife, Stephanie Roller Bruner, to death.

A former member of the Silverthorne Police Department testified that Bruner called the day after his wife was missing and said it was unusual for her to be gone and to leave all of her things behind.

Bruner faces three charges: second-degree murder, first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence.

Roller Bruner's body was discovered in the Blue River after a 3-day search that began shortly after Thanksgiving 2010.

The average murder rate for Summit County is less than one a year, so this trial has been stirring discussion in the High Country. Bruner, who has pleaded not guilty, and his defense team initially requested a change of venue partly due to that fact. It was not granted.