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Murder Trial Begins in Death of Emily Rimel, 5

The prosecution and defense presented opening arguments this afternoon in the death penalty trial of 25-year-old Lindsey Bruce. He's charged with killing 5-year-old Emily Rimel in December, 2004. He was convicted in 2005 for the girl's kidnapping. But prosecutors filed murder charges when her remains were discovered more than a year-and-a-half after she disappeared.

Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Rausch told jurors that the child's mother Jane Rimel and her boyfriend Brent Copley were part of the working poor. Lindsey Bruce was a family friend who sometimes slept at the couple's one-bedroom apartment on Reinbeau Drive in southeast Franklin County. On the night of December 7th, 2004, Rimel left for work. The next morning, Rausch says, Copley discovered that Emily had disappeared.

"Emily is missing," Rausch says. "He can't find her anywhere. Who else is missing? The defendant. They're both gone and that front door is unlocked."

That's important to the case, Rausch says, because Bruce always woke Copley when he was ready to leave so that Copley could lock the door behind him. Lindsey Bruce was charged with kidnapping and rape after Emily's DNA was found on his body. But the jury only convicted Bruce on the kidnapping charge and in November 2005, Bruce was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

When a couple fishing on Big Walnut Creek discovered Emily's remains in May of last year, prosecutors decided to charge Lindsey Bruce with murder.

But defense attorney Christopher Cooper told jurors in his opening statement that there's no evidence linking his client to the crime.

"What we do know is that there are no witnesses as to her disappearance," Cooper says. "There's no evidence as to the cause of her death, and there's no evidence as to when she died or where she died."

Several inmates are expected to testify during the trial that Bruce told them details of the crime.