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Murder trial in Lawrenceville

Murder trial in Lawrenceville, Over a year ago, Tyler R. McQueen and Helen Marie Westall were arrested for the murder of Robert V. Westall. After many delays, the murder trial for 21-year-old McQueen began with opening statements on Monday, April 29, 2013 in the Lawrence County Circuit Court. Helen Marie Westall's trail has been set for May 13.

McQueen is charged with three counts of first degree murder and is being represented by Matthew Vaughn, a court-appointed attorney from Fairfield. Lawrence County State's Attorney Chris Quick and special prosecutor Michael Vujovich are prosectuing McQueen.

Jury selection took place the week before, lasting for four days. Ten woman and two men were selected along with three women and one man as alternates.

On Monday, Vujovich began by presenting a 28-minute opening statement where he told the jury that Robert Westall was murdered while he was asleep in the bedroom. He continued, saying that Westall sustained more than two dozen cuts and stab wounds with a slash across the jugular vein in his neck being the blow that resulted in him dying of heavy blood loss. Westall also had a broken nose and black eye that is believed to have occurred at the same time as the stabbing.

Vujovich also said that in a video tape McQueen will tell that he was offered a 1995 blue Oldsmobile Cutlass and $10,000 to kill Westall. He told jurors he believes the evidence will show that McQueen drove to the Lincoln Memorial Bridge, threw his bloodstained clothing into the Wabash River, went back to Helen Marie Westall's house, and went to sleep. Vujovich also said evidence will show that McQueen talked to a man, Dan Martin, at least a week before the murder, asking how Martin would slit someone's throat if he had to. McQueen was also allegedly carrying a large amount of cash at the time.

When Vaughn made his opening statement, it only lasted five minutes. He told the jury it would be a difficult case for everyone, noting that he believes people have a “ballgame mentality.” The thing people like about sports is having a clearly defined winner and loser, but according to Vaughn, there are no winners in this case.

He said there is a DVD of a police interview with McQueen that “will show you things you do not like.” It will show McQueen saying he was asked to this (the murder) and will say he entered the cottage. Vaughn ended by asking the jurors to keep an open mind.

McQueen was dressed in a gray dress shirt over a black T-shirt and black pants. He was not in handcuffs or shackles, but he was escorted to the courtroom in restraints and a security vest. During the opening statements, he appeared to be listening intently. His family, including his mother, was seated behind him in the seats reserved for the general public.

Following opening statements, the prosecution began building its case.

Source: Lawrenceville Daily Record

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