Opening arguments in the Brian Horn first degree murder trial began this morning at the Desoto Parish Courthouse in Mansfield Horn is accused of the March 2010 death of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom.
In the opening volleys, Desoto Parish Assistant District Attorney Ron Stamps spoke to the horrendous nature of the crime in which he said Justin was lured into Horn's taxi through text messages from Horn posing as a teenage girl promising sexual favors.
But Jay Florence, the attorney who fired the first shot for the defense, told jurors the prosecution wanted vengeance, not justice. He told the jury Horn was not guilty of first degree murder because he didn't intend to kill Justin, saying their decision should not be based on sympathy or compassion, but on the law. Florence said Horn did not intend to kill Justin, but instead lured him out because he was a "swinger" and liked to watch his wife and girlfriend have sex with other men. He also said there was no evidence Justin was sexually abused.
Amy Fletcher, the mother of the victim was the first witness called to the stand by the prosecution. She tearfully described the day leading up to her son's disappearance and death to the jury. Under questioning by prosecutor Dhu Thompson, Fletcher talked about how Justin had spent the day working on his grandfather's farm to make extra money, and how he asked to spend the night with Dustin Rosegrant, his best friend at North Desoto Middle School.
She said she asked if adults would be there, and Justin assured her Dustin's mom and brothers were there, so she allowed him to go. The last thing she and her son said to each other was "I love you," she said
Fletcher said she learned Justin was missing when her oldest son, Tyler, called her and told her he was not at the Rosegrants' home, and she contacted her older brother, who is with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.
After Fletcher finished her testimony for the prosecution, the defense declined to cross examine her and she was released.
Fletcher's brother, John Witham Jr, a 19-year veteran with CPSO, who has been with the elite office of special investigation (OSI) for past 13 years, testified when his sister called, he was at work, but immediately made arrangements to go to Stonewall "She was frantic," he told the jury
When Witham arrived, things began to move rapidly, and he was taken by law enforcement there to the scene where Horn's taxi had broken down, and a short time later, Justin's body was found face down in water. Witham was asked to identify the body, which he did. The defense also declined to cross examine Witham. He said he told his father and Fletcher Justin was dead.
Among others testifying today were the three Rosegrant boys who were with Justin the evening before he died, and a classmate of Justin's, who was a neighbor of Horn's and friend of his step-daughter. She testified Horn borrowed her cell phone "to get ringtones," and said Justin's phone number was in her phone.
Court will begin at 9:30 Saturday morning, and NBC 6 News will be there and bring details as they become available