Double murder trial under way of deaf, homeless man

By Jon Chrisos - bio | email and Maira Ansari - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The double murder trial of a deaf, homeless man is finally underway in Louisville. Twenty-eight-year-old Jeston Murray is accused of killing two people almost two years ago.

Both sides started making their case before a jury in this trial Wednesday morning when we heard opening statements at the Judicial Center in downtown Louisville. It's been almost two years since two homeless men were first accused of killing two people.

Michael Knights pleaded guilty and is serving life without parole for 25 years, but Jeston Murray maintains his innocence. Police say Murray and Knights killed 72-year-old Darrell Spencer at the Army surplus store on West Main Street with a hatchet they stole from the store. It happened the weekend after Christmas in 2008.

An LMPD officer testified and told the court what he saw when he arrived at the store and found Spencer's body.

"There is a box so, I lift the box up - that's when I see the gentleman sitting in the box kind of sitting like this, with his feet over the box," said Officer Antoine Frye.

Just eight days later, police say Murray and Knights then killed another man, 34-year-old Marcus Penny, at an apartment on Manslick Road by stabbing him to death.

"At the end of the day I ask you do one thing: find him guilty for what he did, find him guilty for helping and participating in the cold blooded murder of two people," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Van De Rostyne said.

But Murray's lawyer, David Mejia, says his client is an eyewitness to murder. Mejia says Murray was there, but he didn't participate in the killings. In fact, he says Murray was frozen with fear and horror.

"He told police everything and he told them the truth. He is a witness to these things that happened for which he is now on trial," Mejia said.

Murray is charged with murder, robbery, burglary, and tampering with physical evidence.

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