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Trial for Chicago cop charged in 2017 murder begins Tuesday

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CHICAGO — Opening statements took place on Tuesday in a Chicago police officer's murder trial.

Lowell Houser, 60, is charged with first-degree murder.

He was off duty in January of 2017 when he shot and killed 38-year-old Jose Nieves, who was one of his neighbors. The two were said to have had an ongoing feud.

In opening statements, Houser’s attorney said the officer was on medical leave for prostate cancer at the time of the incident, and the last thing on his mind was a violent street confrontation.

Houser claims it was Nieves who erupted and threatened him, and pretended to have a gun in his waistband.

A judge allowed Houser to remain free under electronic monitoring despite the first-degree murder charge.

About 12 of Nieves' relatives were in court, and they plan to be throughout the bench trial.

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