Fourteen jurors showed up in Allen County Circuit Court this morning, ready for prosecutors to begin laying out their case against two accused murderers. The trial involves murder charges against 39-year-old Lonnie Freeman of Etoile and 31-year-old Dustin Asher of Glasgow.
Day two of the trial saw opening statements from both sides, some testimony and plenty of fireworks between the attorneys. Eight men and six women will sit in the jury box and must decide whether Lonnie Freeman and Dustin Asher are guilty or innocent of killing 32-year-old Kelly Johnson and 38-year-old Daniel Froedge, and tampering in their deaths.
Their bodies were discovered in July 2005 on Halifax Road inside a burned-out truck in a wooded area. Each victim was shot once in the head, their bodies were burned beyone recognition.
During opening statements, Commonwealth Attorney Clint Willis said the victims and the defendants were good friends. At the time of Johnson and Froedge’s disappearance, they were wanted for questioning by Kentucky State Police in connection with a stolen vehicle.
Willis summed it up as a case of a business deal gone bad, “Pretty simple, straight forward case. A classic case of guys involved in shady activities, squabble among themselves, somebody gets hurt or killed, try to cover up, get caught and say ‘not me.’”
Defense attorney, Daniel Taylor of Louisville, painted a much different picture. He claimed manipulation on part of the prosecution who he says has built an untrue case against his clients.
Taylor claims a third party who struck a deal with Kentucky State Police in exchange for information about the murders, is actually the one who should have been investigated. “I am going to prove, I will prove, write it down, it makes it absolutely impossible to find these two men guilty,” Taylor exclaims.
The defense continued to emphasize the lack of physical evidence in the case linking either of his clients to the murders.
Heightened security measures remained in place today at the Allen County Courthouse and will continue until the end of the trial. Anyone who enters must go through two metal detectors before entering the courtroom. The extra security is due to a threatening phone call Tuesday that delayed the start of the trial.
Testimony is expected to last several days and possibly Saturday.