SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Opening arguments began Thursday in the trial of Eric Denson, accused of fatally stabbing 17-year old Conor Reynolds during a birthday party last year at the Blue Fusion Bar and Grill.
The 22 year old has pleaded not guilty, but prosecutors say witnesses and evidence suggest otherwise.
Denson was expressionless as he sat in court on Thursday, even as prosecutors described in graphic detail the muder he's accused of committing.
Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni began the opening arguments, telling the jury about DNA evidence and surveillance video allegedly pinpointing Denson.
"You'll see on the video at one point the person who met up Eric Denson turn around and make some gestures back towards the friends of Conor Reynolds who were yelling and screaming to get back here," said Mastroianni.
Defense Attorney David Rountree oped his remarks by asking the jurors to look Denson in the face and consider the gravity of their decision.
Rountree said witnesses had been coerced in a police investigation he called "sloppy" because officers were under pressure to find a suspect.
"We're all people," said Rountree. "Each and every one of us. We're all capable of making mistakes, and many of the witnesses in this case did make mistakes. Serious mistakes."
Some of Conor's family members were visibly upset during the emotional and graphic testimony of the first witness on the stand- Conor's girlfriend Ashley Jaskula.
The nineteen year old broke down in tears as she decribed her boyfriend's last words.
"I told him that he needs to keep talking to me, stay with me," said Jaskula through tears. "And he said 'I can't.'"
Just one day into the trial, the disturbing accounts were enough to make some people get up and leave the courtroom.
The trial is set to resume Friday morning at nine o-clock with the cross-examination of Ashley Jaskula.