The double murder trial against a former Texas police chief accused of shooting and killing a Sodus couple in their driveway began on Monday.
A Wayne County jury heard opening statements in the case against former Sunray, Texas, Chief Timothy Dean. He previously pleaded not guilty to murder in the deaths of Amber Washburn and Joshua Niles.
Prosecutors said their case will prove how Dean conspired with two others to drive from Texas to Sodus to kill Niles, which Washburn witnessed.
However, the defense claims the person responsible for the killings isn’t Dean. They also asked the jury to set aside emotion and instead remember the burden of proof rests on the state to prove Dean did anything beyond a reasonable doubt.
Twelve witnesses including neighbors, law enforcement, a rental car risk manager and Niles' family lawyer testified in court.
A neighbor testified that he saw the murders take place shortly after coming home from work. The man said he was across the street when he saw a hooded man stand over Niles and shoot. He said the suspect then shot into Washburn's car then returned to firing at Niles on the ground.
Friends and relatives said Niles had recently won custody of the two children he had with Dean's wife during a previous relationship.
Dean's wife, Charlene Childers, was expected to be tried with her husband, but pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
A third suspect, Bron Bohlar, a police officer in Sunray who rented a car for Dean, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
The defense warned the jury to be mindful of motivations behind witness testimonies as both are expected to testify as part of their plea deals.
“I expect the co-defendants to point their fingers at my client, something the jury will have to decide in this case," said Defense Attorney Joe Damelio.
Childers is expected to testify in court on Tuesday.