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Trial of Woman Charged With Murder of RIT Professor Begins

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Rochester: Trial of Woman Charged With Murder of RIT Professor Begins
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Edline Chun's friends almost filled a row in the courtroom as the case got underway against Natalie Johnson, the woman who with her boyfriend Jerrell Henry is accused in Chun's death.

Attorney James Egan laid out the prosecution's case, saying Natalie Johnson is not guilty by association but guilty by participation. He says Johnson and Henry pushed their way into Chun's Hazelwood Terrace home on Feb. 3rd, then restrained her, duct taping her hands and feet, and then demanded she sign blank checks and call her bank asking money to be transferred out of her account.

Chun was then shot twice in the head. They say Johnson even called Chun's bank, faking her voice and trying to access her account.

Chun's body was found days dumped later in Tryon Park, a blue tote found near her body. Prosecutors say the top of that tote was found later in Johnson's home.

Taking the stand Thursday was a longtime friend of Chun's and a parole officer for Jerrell Henry, who testified he put an ankle bracelet on him. Prosecutors say that ankle bracelet tracked Henry everywhere he went the days after her murder. They say Johnson was right there with him.

"Our theory of the case as was mentioned in openings is that is wasn't just association, that there was more participation, and obviously we're going to be trying to prove both counts of the indictment based upon the evidence, but I can't really comment too much on what I think the proof is going to be because it hasn't come in yet," said prosecutor Perry Duckles.

Defense attorney Bob Napier said two witnesses the prosecution plans to call have extensive criminal records and he alleges may even have had some involvement. He also says there is no physical evidence tying Natalie Johnson to the crime scene.

"There is no physical evidence in the victim's home whatsoever, and there was a very highly intensive and sophisticated investigation into the evidence there, DNA, fingerprints; no physical evidence of my client found at that property after a thorough search," Napier said.

This case is expected to last two weeks.

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