“I grabbed an axe and I hit him with it in the face”: Sparta man accused in homicide takes the stand

38-year-old Thomas Aspseter took the stand for roughly two hours at Monroe County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

SPARTA (WKBT) — The 38-year-old man accused of killing his step-grandfather and wounding 2 others in June 2021 testified in his own defense at Monroe County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

While on the stand, 38-year-old Thomas Aspseter said his step-grandfather, the late 87-year-old Bernard Waite, punched him once in the face, which led him to grab an axe and strike him twice.

“I hit him more than once with the axe, the first time not as hard the second time quite hard,” he said.

The incident, which happened on June 6, 2021, took place after Aspseter had re-entered a home on Icarus Road in Sparta after previously being told by his step-grandfather to leave.

Aspseter claimed that his step-grandfather “baited” him into the attack because a relative in the house at the time threatened to call the police if the 38-year-old didn’t leave.

Under cross-examination, Aspseter admitted that he entered the home without a key. The defense had previously denied that Aspseter broke into the house.

“Your claim to the jury today is that an 87-year-old, 128-lb man baited you into a fight?” asked Monroe County District Attorney Kevin Croninger.

“Yeah, he popped me in the chin and I grabbed an axe and I hit him with it in the face,” Aspseter responded.

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday afternoon after calling more than two dozen witnesses in three days.

The defense called one witness: 38-year-old Aspseter testifying in his own defense.

On Thursday, closing arguments are expected in the trial.

During the 911 call from June 6, 2021, which was presented Monday morning during the prosecution’s opening argument, Aspseter admitted to killing someone.

If convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, Aspseter faces life in prison.

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