‘She was an amazing kid.’: Parents of murdered WF teen speaks in fourth trial day

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Emotions ran high in the courtroom today as the parents of 14-year-old Jupiter Paulsen took the stand in the fourth day of the trial of Arthur Kollie who’s accused of stabbing and strangling the teen to death in a Fargo strip mall parking lot last June.

Tuesday morning marked the first time the public has heard Jupiter’s voice, as prosecutors shared a 13 second TikTok video made by Paulsen in the months before her death.

“I hope everyone has a great day! I just want everyone to be themselves. Don’t act like somebody else just because somebody wants you to be that person. You matter. Everybody matters and I love you guys,” Paulsen says as she walks outside.

Prosecutors say the heartfelt video was shown to jurors as a way to humanize the teen victim rather than jurors only knowing the grainy version of the Jupiter, which was shown to jurors on the second day of trial as they watched the nearly 30-minute security video showing the moments leading up to her death.

“She was the heart and soul of so many people. So many people knew her as the light in the room,” Antonia Johnson, Jupiter’s mom said.

“She was an amazing kid. She could draw, she could sing. She played a couple instruments. She could uplift your room by just showing up,” Jupiter’s dad Robert Paulsen said.

Paulsen was skateboarding and walking from her dad’s house to her mom’s house on the morning of June 4, 2021 when she was attacked. Her parents said she had made the trek several times without any issues. Paulsen was found by a City of Fargo garbage truck driver while she was lying on the ground with Kollie kneeling over her in the Party City parking lot.

Prosecutors say the attack began shortly after 6:30 a.m. that morning, and ended just before 7 a.m. Prosecutors say Jupiter was stabbed 25 times, strangled and stomped on. Medical examiners ruled her death a homicide caused by manual strangulation.

Paulsen says his daughter had just secured her first job at Arby’s, and the day she was killed was supposed to be the day she got her first paycheck.

“And she wanted to take her sister out for a sister date with her first check,” he told jurors.

Instead, Jupiter’s family would be called to Sanford hospital to sit beside her in her final moments.

“I told her that I loved her. I told her that we were there, that she wasn’t alone and just to keep fighting,” Johnson said.

“I cried and I held her hand. I told her we’re gonna get through this and we’re gonna make it,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen says while that didn’t happen, that love for life shown in the TikTok is still with us as a part of Jupiter lives on in four people across the country thanks to her donation of both her kidneys, her pancreas, liver and lungs.

“I don’t want the last part of my kid to be murdered. I wanted her to live on through others,” Paulsen said.

The state rested its case today. The defense is expected to begin calling its witnesses to the stand Wednesday morning. If convicted on the murder charge, Kollie faces the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.