As a newly selected jury, eight women and four men, listened to opening statements Tuesday. The prosecution began with remarks about the gruesome death of fifteen year old Courtney Wilkes
"On Thursday, June 16th 2011, almost two years ago. A precious child known as Courtney Ann Wilkes who was fifteen years of age. Who was expecting her sixteenth birthday in July. Was kidnapped, sexually assaulted. Abused and murdered" said Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore.
Wilkes was on vacation with her family from Georgia when prosecutors say she was killed by Steven Cozzie. The defense then reminded the jury their client is innocent until proven guilty.
"You've been asked correctly by the prosecutor to remember this is not evidence and that's a fact. Every single word he just said to you for the past hour and fifteen minutes is not evidence. Some of you have been taking notes. Every photograph he just showed you is not evidence; those photographs have not been placed into evidence yet" said Defense Attorney Spiro Kypreos.
Following nearly two hours of opening statements, the first witness took the stand. The trial will continue Wednesday morning at the Walton County courthouse in Defuniak Springs.