The trial of William David Brown, the
second suspect accused of killing a 25-year-old gay man, began Monday
in a Polk County, Florida courtroom.
Jury selection ended Tuesday and jurors
will begin hearing testimony on Monday, October 26, theLedger.com
Prosecutors allege Brown and
co-defendant Joseph Bearden killed Ryan Keith Skipper, whose body was
found abandoned by the side of the road with 19 cuts.
Bearden was tried separately in
February. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced
to life in prison.
During the trial, Associate Medical
Examiner Vera Volnikh said a slash to the throat 3.5 inches deep
killed Skipper, who quickly bled to death.
The coroner said it appeared as if
Skipper attempted to fight off his attackers. Cuts found on the
victim's hands, wrists and arms indicate he tried to block the knife.
Some cuts were deeper than others, leaving the possibility that
Skipper's 163-pound body blunted the blades of two knives.
A woman made the ghastly discovery of
Skipper's bloody body stabbed to death sitting on the side of a dirt
road that leads to the small town of Wahneta in the early hours of
March 14, 2007.
Investigators first suggested that
Skipper was killed because he made sexual advances towards one of the
men. A claim friends, family and gay rights groups decried as
Skipper's parents turned to gay
activism after the death of their son. Lynn Mulder, Skipper's
stepfather, heads the Polk County chapter of Parents, Families &
Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG), a support group for gay allies.