Trial begins for a man accused of murdering his business partner

Diane Tanselle
Diane Tanselle
Thomas Kessinger
Thomas Kessinger

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of a Louisville man charged in the death of his business partner nearly two years ago.

Prosecutors say DNA evidence linked Thomas Kessinger to the murder of 51-year-old Diane Tanselle in April 2010.

Kessinger was arrested in southern Indiana after leading police on a high-speed chase a few days after Tanselle disappeared.

Kessinger is facing murder charges, as well as abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence.

An officer with the Graymoor-Devondale Police Department took the stand Tuesday and told his story about how he discovered Tanselle's body days after Kessinger's arrest. It was inside her van, which was mysteriously parked at Lyndon apartment complex where neither Tanselle nor Kessinger lived.

"When the wind stopped, I could smell what I had smelled before which was a decaying body," Officer Bill Lewis said.

But how did it get there, and who put it there?
Lawyers say that Diane Tanselle was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at Thomas Kessinger's home when she died.
"She either has a heart attack or a synergetic reaction to the drugs or alcohol in her system and dies," Kessinger's lawyer, Steve Schroering, said during opening statements.
But instead of calling for help, Kessinger's lawyer say he spiraled out of control, trying to hide that death, due to what else was inside the home.
"What he thought of was himself and that he was sitting on top of a giant marijuana operation," Schroering said.
A confrontation with police later led to a high speed chase across state lines, which is what Kessinger was originally charged with in Indiana, delaying the murder trial in Kentucky.
The trial started Tuesday, with Tanselle's son taking the stand before officers from both states recalled their run-ins with Kessinger.

The trial resumes Wednesday morning, with more witnesses expected to take the stand.

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