BISMARCK, N.D. — A man accused of fatally assaulting a woman behind a Bismarck store in April 2016 is on trial.

Thirty-four-year-old Morris Brickle-Hicks earlier pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of 40-year-old Misty Coffelt. Authorities allege she was struck in the face about half a dozen times and died of head trauma.

Attorneys gave opening statements Monday and testimony began. Defense attorney James Loraas maintained that while his client did have a physical confrontation with Coffelt, he didn’t knowingly or intentionally kill her.

The trial is expected to last through Thursday. Brickle-Hicks could face life in prison if convicted.

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