Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – A jury heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Trevor Matthews.
Matthews is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Ronnie Southerland, of Westlake, in 2019.
Southerland was discovered dead in a field several days after he was killed. Prosecutors say Southerland was stabbed 78 times with such force that the tip of the knife was found in his head.
Prosecutors say an investigator from the coroner’s office told police the killer would have cuts on his hands from delivering so many stab wounds with such force.
Prosecutors say when Matthews was arrested a few days later in Pasadena Texas, he had such wounds and possessed a knife with the tip gone.
Prosecutors say the victim was unarmed and that the killing was not self-defense.
However, defense attorneys argue Matthews has always maintained his innocence.
Defense attorney King Alexander told jurors the knife in Matthews’ possession did not match the knife used in the killing, a statement to which the state objected. Alexander also questioned whether Matthews would have kept a knife used in a homicide in his possession.
Alexander urged jurors to reserve judgement until they have heard all the evidence.
The first witness was Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office Capt. Beth McGee, who identified gruesome pictures of Southerland’s body at the scene.
The trial continues tomorrow.
Written by Theresa Schmidt