Opening statements start George Burch trial

Posted: 7:35 PM, Feb 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-20 01:35:51Z

What's expected to be a lengthy homicide trial began Monday with attorney's laying out the basis of their arguments.

"The right result is a verdict of not guilty," defense attorney Scott Stebbins said.

"The truth must be found, justice must prevail, and Mr. Burch must be held accountable," District Attorney David Lasee said.

In his opening statement, Lasee told a jury that the evidence points to Burch as Nicole VanderHeyden's killer. He says as the 2016 investigation got underway, investigators found DNA matching Burch's at crime locations and on evidence.

"The state crime lab is consistently finding male DNA at key points on Nikki's body," Lasee said.

Lasee then told a jury that Burch's cell phone data puts him at a bar where VanderHeyden was last scene, where she was killed, and where her body and clothes were found.

"George Burch's phone is at all those locations, all within the time frame," he said.

Burch's defense didn't argue with the evidence in opening statements.

"You will have a completely innocent explanation that ties all of this together," Lasee said.

Stebbins said evidence will point to Douglass Detrie, VanderHeyden's boyfriend. He said the two had an arguement that night, and Detrie left to talk with other women, drink, and do drugs.
"Not only did he have that motive but the evidence is going to show you that he had the opportunity to murder Nicole," he said. "He had direct involvement in her murder."

After opening statements, prosecutors began calling witnesses. We heard from the family who found VanderHeyden's body, and some of the officers who began the investigation.