JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The trial for a lawn maintenance man accused of killing an 82-year-old woman in December 2009 began Tuesday and is expected to last several days.
Cecil King, 41, is charged with murder in the death of Renie Bain, whose home he serviced. Bain's family members found her beaten to death in her home.
"This man burglarized her home and then savagely and brutally beat her to death with a hammer," Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda told the jury Monday.
Prosecutors said the evidence against King rapidly piled up in the days after Bain's death. That evidence included video from a pawn shop, which prosecutors said shows King selling a bracelet stolen from Bain's home the day she was killed, and a bloody shirt detectives found in King's home.
About a month later, police brought King in for questioning, a session in which King remarked about the tragedy of Bain's death.
"A couple days later, I seen it on the news, and I was like, 'Man, that looks like that lady's house,'" King said in interrogation video. "And I called (my boss), and he was like, 'Yeah, her son had called,' and I was like, 'Wow.' It kind of hit me: 'I know that lady.'"
Family members who testified in court Tuesday said Bain was independent and kind-hearted.
"She was not just my mother-in-law, she was my best friend," Lysa Telzer, Bain's daughter-in-law, said in court.
Telzer described the night Bain was killed. She said she had gone by to check on Bain and found her Brierwood home ransacked.
"I took a second to look into the bedroom, and I saw her little feet and her little socks and her little green scrubs hanging out on the floor on the other side of the bed," Telzer said, while crying. "And I kneeled down. She was facedown. Thank God I didn't lift up her face, but her hand was ice cold. I knew she was not alive."
In the interrogation video, King maintained his innocence, saying the evidence linking him to the crime was nothing but a coincidence.
"He has proclaimed his innocence, and he sits here before you today claiming, I'm innocent," defense attorney Quentin Till said in court. "You may think it may be far-fetched, but listen to the evidence."
Video:Document:Cecil King Arrest ReportUncut Video:
Prosecutors said the final piece of evidence came into place when detectives took a DNA sample from King, swabbing his cheeks. Authorities said his DNA matched the DNA left on a piece of fruit found inside Bain's home, a home that King said he never went inside.
Prosecutors said King forced his way into Bain's house on Goodby's Trace Drive, hit her in the head, stole several items and left in her Cadillac. The car was recovered the next day.
Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if King is convicted.
"This man sought out his prey," de la Rionda said. "He wanted to burglarize her house, and she was home alone, so she was the easy prey."