LEFLORE COUNTY (KFSM) — The Elvis Thacker trial started in a LeFlore County courthouse Tuesday afternoon (April 12).
Thacker is accused of first-degree murder in the September 2010 death of Briana Ault, after her body was found in a Pocola pond. Investigators said she had been sexually assaulted and her throat had been cut.
The trial started with opening statements from the prosecution.
They started by telling the jury that Briana Ault’s body was found by fisherman Justin Coble. Coble found her in the water and thought she was wearing a necklace. However, as he got closer, he saw that the necklace was actually a line where her throat was cut.
The prosecution also told jurors that they will hear from a DNA expert, who swabbed Briana’s mouth after she was found. There DNA results didn’t have a full match, but the DNA swab didn’t have enough information to discount either Elvis Thacker or his brother, Johnathan Thacker.
During the defense’s opening statement, they said Elvis was in a car accident in August 2010 that forced him to keep his leg at a 45-degree angle. They also said that police entered the brothers’ apartment illegally during their investigation.
The defense said the police didn’t have a search warrant when they stormed into Elvis and Johnathan’s apartment. They got in by pretending to be someone else. The defense said that the brothers fought against police in their apartment because they were afraid.
The prosecution called their first witness to the stand, Coble, around 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Coble told the jury where he found Ault’s body, and the prosecution also showed a picture of the scene that he found.
The trial had a large security presence, armed officials are both in the courtroom and are around the courthouse. Additionally, although the trial is open to the public, everyone must pass though a metal detector.
Earlier Tuesday morning, the judge looked at a motion filed by prosecution to throw out video the defense took of the crime scene. The motion says the video was taken between three and five years after the crime, so scenery had changed making the video irrelevant.
He also heard motions to dismiss or accept evidence and expert testimony.