David Franklin Young knowingly and intentionally killed Ember Kimberly Mars in August 1987, according to the prosecution - and the defense.
In fact, most of the emotion during opening statements Friday in Young's first-degree murder trial came from the defense."David Young brutally and savagely murdered a beautiful young woman. . . . There's no question about that," said legal defender Nancy Bergeson. "There is no legal excuse for his barbaric behavior. There was no justification for what he did." As the trial unfolds, she told the jury, "you will feel contempt for this man."
But Bergeson, in conceding her client was the killer, asked the jury to try to understand Young's motivations.
During his opening statements, deputy Salt Lake County attorney Glenn Iwasaki simply outlined for jurors the evidence he would present.
The first witness, Angela Lamb, testified how she, Mars and Lamb's boyfriend met Young in a Salt Lake County truckstop in the early morning hours of Aug. 19, 1987.
The foursome went to the man's house and played games. Eventually, Lamb and her boyfriend retired for the evening. When Lamb awoke two hours later, Mars and Young were gone.
About 6 p.m., Mars' roommate, Randy Powell, returned home from work and discovered her naked body lying on the floor in his bedroom at 6262 S. Dewdrops Drive, in the Oquirrh Shadows subdivision southwest of Kearns.
"I lost my breath . . . and then tried to deny that she was dead," Powell said.
Detective Dennis Couch testified he observed numerous stab wounds in the chest and neck area. "For the most part, she was completely covered with blood."
Couch said he found blood stains in another bedroom and in the bathroom. He also found a broken clothes iron, fragments of which were underneath Mars' body, where investigators also found a butcher knife.
Iwasaki told the jury that Young confessed to killing Mars, 27, and explained the crime in detail.
Young told a detective that he forced Mars at gunpoint to take him to her house, where he planned to wait until making her withdraw money for him from her bank in the morning.
While at her home, he tried to have sex with her. She declined and he raped her.
After the murder, a blood-spattered Franklin then showered, stole Mars' credit cards and purse and fled in her small pickup truck, the prosecutor told the jury.
Illinois police arrested Young a week later after a high-speed chase and recovered the stolen truck.
Bergeson said Young's crimes are not what they appear to be.
"This was not a cool, calculated murder, but an explosive homicide," she said. "You'll see he was not in control at the time."
Bergeson said the defense will present evidence that Young suffers from brain damage, has a borderline IQ and suffers a "pervasive developmental disorder."
About 6 feet tall and weighing more than 250 pounds, Young, 28, is "very much like the disturbed child he once was, only now he's in a big body with lethal power," she said.
The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. before 3rd District Judge Timothy Hanson.