Saario trial delayed to August; judge changed

CRYSTAL FALLS—The trial of an Alpha man accused of killing his stepdaughter has been delayed until August.
    Alfred Michael Saario, 66, will now face a jury trial Aug. 14-18 on charges of homicide open murder and discharging a firearm in or at a building, causing the death of Jamie Lee James after a domestic dispute on June 22, 2016. Saario faces life in prison on both charges.
    The trial had originally been scheduled for April and then had been rescheduled to June 19-23. But both times the date has been pushed back because of Iron County Judge C. Joseph Schwedler’s extended medical leave.    
    Schwedler will not be available for the trial. The case has now been assigned to Dickinson County Circuit Court Judge Mary Barglind. Pre-trial motions have been set for June 22.
    James, 29 at the time of the incident, was found dead by Iron County Sheriff’s deputies after they had been dispatched to an Alpha residence after reports of gunshots. Deputies and EMS personnel found Saario at the scene injured after a suspected suicide attempt.
    During arraignment, Iron County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell said that James’ death resulted from a dispute over a phone.
    Saario suffered severe facial injuries in the incident. He has been lodged in the Iron County Correctional Facility since his arrest and was found competent to stand trial after an evaluation.