Opening arguments were heard Thursday in Buena Vista Circuit Court in the first-degree murder trial of Michael J. O’Hare who is accused of stabbing his mother-in-law during a domestic altercation on May 23 at her home at 304 Glasgow Ave. in Buena Vista. Susan Smith Khoshpasand, 56, was declared dead at the scene.
O’Hare has entered a plea of not guilty to the murder charge as well as to a charge of malicious wounding.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Russell recounted for the jury of seven men and five women the events of May 23 in his opening statement that was illustrated with graphic photographs of the scene and the victim lying on the kitchen floor of her home “covered in a pool of blood." In the foreground of the picture was the serrated knife used in the alleged homicide. Khoshpasand’s home where she lived with Michael and Nessa O’Hare and their two children “was not always a happy place,” Russell said, but “Susan persevered to provide a home for her daughter, her husband and her two grandchildren.
The jury also heard from prosecution witness Dr. Paul Benson, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Khoshpasand. Benson testified the victim had been stabbed a total of 28 times with the most lethal wound being in the left neck area. That wound severed both the carotid artery and the jugular vein.
Defense attorney Lee Brown told the jury in his opening remarks that “there will not be a lot of contested evidence” presented on behalf of O’Hare. He said it will be the jury’s duty to decide “what that evidence proves.” He called the Khoshpasand-O’Hare family a “household in tragedy for years.”
“Susan didn’t like Michael or her daughter either,” Brown said.
The trial will continue Friday beginning at 9 a.m.
The jury trial for Michael J. O'Hare, 34, of Buena Vista, charged with first degree murder in the stabbing death of his mother-in-law, Susan Smith Khoshpasand, last May 23, is scheduled for today and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, in Buena Vista Circuit Court. O'Hare, seen here in court this morning seated between his attorneys, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and to a charge of maliciously wounding his wife, Nessa O'Hare. (Ed Smith photo)