Trial begins for man accused in fatal 2-by-4 beating

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A trial is underway for a man accused of beating a Rhode Island junk car dealer to death with a two-by-four over a deal gone wrong.

Opening statements were heard Tuesday in the murder and assault trial of 48-year-old Daniel Lastarza in Providence.

Prosecutors say the July 2014 altercation that led to the death of 34-year-old Jonathan Stack started as an argument over a bogus sale at Stack’s North Providence car dealership that apparently involved Lastarza and another man.

Prosecutors say Stack and his employee confronted Lastarza’s friend at a bar. They say the altercation moved outside and Lastarza struck Stack and his employee with a two-by-four.

Defense attorney Christopher Smith says Stack and his employee were the aggressors, and indicated he would be arguing self-defense.

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