Opening arguments began Monday morning in the murder trial of William Shultz, a now 20-year-old man who admitted to killing 9-year-old Jordan Almgren of Discovery Bay back in 2015.
Shultz, who was a friend of Almgren's older brother, was sleeping over at the Almgren family's home in April 2015 when he allegedly used a hunting knife to stab Almgren several times. Almgren was rushed to the hospital, but he later died.
As expected, the prosecution team on Monday argued that Shultz was responsible for the gruesome crime as Shultz's family sat in the courtroom in silence, at times wiping away tears.
Shultz's defense team countered by discussing the then-teenager's chaotic mental state. They admitted that Shultz's head was spinning, and that he was obsessed with the thought that the world was ending.
When nuclear bombs did not explode during the overnight hours of the sleepover, Shultz was allegedly convinced that in order to survive the ensuing apocalpyse, he had to test his ability to kill on command. That's when he turned off power to the house and stabbed Almgren five times in the chest, neck and temple.
In a previous jailhouse interview with the Contra Costa Times, Shultz said he stabbed Almgren to "see what it was like." "I wanted to see what it was like to take a life before someone tried to take mine," Schultz said in the interview.
Almgren managed to fight back, causing Shultz's to slash his wrists. Shultz left behind the knife, a bloody glove and trail of blood as he left the house, according to the district attorney's office.
Shultz was later arrested at the hospital while being treated for his injuries.
Shultz's family was concerned about the then-teenager's mental health during the days leading up to the incident. The day before Almgren's death, a deputy visited Shultz's home and convinced the teenager to seek a mental health evaluation. His mother was concerned that he may be suicidal.
A doctor determined that Shultz did not present a threat to himself or the public, resulting in Shultz being released.
Shultz's defense team will likely continue to argue that mental health and key life events played a role in the-then teenager's unraveling. Leading up to the sleepover, Shultz had been dealing with the divorce of his parents, alleged parental neglect and his half-sister's suicide.
Prosecutors will likely claim that Shultz knew what he was doing when he killed Almgren.