Day one wrapped up in trial against Columbia man accused of murder

2 years 11 months 5 days ago Monday, January 12 2015 Jan 12, 2015 Monday, January 12, 2015 7:37:44 PM CST January 12, 2015 in News
By: KOMU 8 Digital Staff

COLUMBIA - Day one wrapped up on Monday night in the trial of a Columbia man accused of first-degree murder.

James Thompson is accused in the murder of Brian Daniels of Columbia. Columbia Police responded to a call on April 10, 2013 at 2416 Cimarron Drive.

When authorities arrived they found Brian Daniels dead. In an interview with KOMU 8 News on April 11, Thompson and his mother, Jacqueline Miller, said they found Daniels dead after returning to the house for the first time in 24 hours. Daniels had three gun shot wounds in his body when police arrived to the scene.

In the interview with KOMU 8 News, Thompson said he had keys to the house and claimed to live with Daniels as his partner.

Judge Christine Carpenter is hearing the case. She said Monday she is expecting the trial to go on all week.

Jury selection began around 9 a.m. with attorneys questioning 84 potential jurors. Judge Carpenter said she expected a jury to be selected sometime Monday. Jury selection continued throughout the early afternoon and the judge swore in the selected jury around 2 p.m.

The trial started at 3 p.m. with opening statements from prosecutors which ended before 4 p.m. Defense attorneys were expected to begin shortly after.

Prosecutors called their first and second witnesses to the stand just after 4 p.m. A CPD officer, Kyle DeOrnellas, who responded to a call from Daniels' home on April 10 was called to the stand. The CPD officer said when he arrived to Daniels' house it was in a dissaray. 

Detective Bryan Liebhart was the final witness for the day. He explained to the court that Thompson told him where Daniels kept his will. Police found the will and revealed the beneficiary of the will is Thompson. The defense claims Thompson wanted to get the money to help pay for Daniels' funeral costs. 

The trial is set to start again at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

[Editor's note: This story is being continually updated with the latest information available.]

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