ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Jurors heard opening statements from the prosecution and heard testimony from a series of witnesses during the trial of one of the three men accused of murder in the death of a Florida State University graduate student. Quentin Truehill is charged with kidnapping and murder in the case. The three defendants are being tried separately.
Vincent Binder's body was found dumped in St. Johns County in April 2010. Prosecutors painted a picture of a violent multi-state crime spree by the trio that culminated in Binder’s death.
“They had hour after hour after hour to think about what they were going to do with Vincent Binder, and that the decision was made to murder him,” said Mark Johnson, assistant state attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit.
The case began when Truehill, Peter Hughes and Kentrell Johnson all escaped from a jail in Marksville, La., which is near Alexandria. Surveillance video presented during testimony showed the three men overwhelmed guards at the jail before running out. They later stole a car and robbed a woman in a nearby shopping center. Leann Williams testified she tried to fight back as one of the men stole her purse while another watched.
“I felt threatened and so I picked up my gun and was actually talking to them and the time I got it to go back and go after them, I realized I needed to stop, I was no longer the victim,” Williams said.
Williams testified her bank card was used to buy gas and to withdraw money from an ATM before it was canceled. Defense attorneys for Truehill repeatedly objected to the testimony of witnesses from Louisiana, but were consistently overruled.
The defense also chose to defer its opening statements. The jury in this case is sequestered. The witnesses have also been told not to discuss the case. Testimony resumes Tuesday.