Opening statements were held Wednesday morning and testimony is now underway in the trial of a Rochester man accused of killing an East High School student last spring. Devonte Lively, 21, has been charged with second degree murder. Because this is a high profile case, it took nearly two days to seat a jury. YNN's Mike Hedeen is covering the trial and joined us from the Hall of Justice.
Opening statements and testimony Wednesday in the trial of a Rochester man accused of killing a 17-year old girl last spring.
Devonte Lively, 21, is charged with second degree murder in the March 2012 death of Larie Butler. Prosecutors say Lively killed Butler in the basement of his grandmother's home on Dorington Road in Irondequoit, then dumped her body in a neighbor's swimming pool.
Prosecutor Kelly Wolford laid out a timeline in court Wednesday from when Butler went missing until the time her body was found. Wolford said that police were led to Lively's grandmother's home in Irondequoit and found a piece of Butler's cell phone in the yard, bloody clothes in a garbage tote and Lively's DNA on a fingernail inside the home. They later found Butler's body at the bottom of the neighbor's swimming pool. Wolford said Larie was struck in head, strangled and stabbed in the neck and abdomen and that Lively tried to clean up and hide the evidence.
Defense Attorney James Noble said the case is not as clear as the prosecution states and there are about 50 witnesses and nearly 150 pieces of evidence. Nobles told the jury that some of the testimony won't matter and to keep an open mind.
Emotional testimony from Butler's mother, Karen Snipes, who was the first witness on the stand. She said that family members went to Lively's Danforth Street home to confront him after Larie went missing. She described a fight that her son James got into with Lively.
Jurors heard two 911 calls placed from Danforth Street on March 24.
Rochester Police Sergeant David Simpson, who was assigned the missing persons case, also testified Wednesday. He said he was told Lively was the last person to see Larie. Simpson testified, he set up a meeting with Lively, but he never showed up.
He went on to testify that on March 28 he received a search warrant for Lively's grandmother's house. He said he noticed a couch out of place in the basement. He also said there was a stain on the carpet and what appeared to be drag marks leading to a door that exited to the backyard.
Simpson said he then went outside and noticed the neighbors pool that was covered. He said during his investigation he saw nothing in the water, but noticed a brick out of place. Simpson said the Laurelton Fire Department had the cover water drained, and eventually they found Larie's body in the deep end.
If convicted, Lively faces up to 25 years in prison
YNN is in court and will have more details coming up later.