The trial of murder suspect Richard James Finch, 27, began Thursday before Mohave County Superior Court Judge Robert R.
Moon with opening statements by the prosecutor and defense attorney and an emotional outburst by the defendant.
Finch, along with Charles Ellison, 34, both of Lake Havasu City, are charged in the deaths of Lillian Boucher, 73, and her husband Joseph Boucher, 79.
The couple was killed in their Kingman home Feb.
Moon first read the charges, two counts of first degree murder and two counts of first degree burglary, against Finch, then read instructions to the eight women and four men in the jury.
"You must decide on the facts," Moon said.
"Don't guess or speculate.
You must hear the evidence and then decide on the facts."
Moon also asked the jury that for a guilty plea for first degree murder, the jury would need proof that the defendant caused the death of the Bouchers, that the suspect knew he would cause the deaths and that he acted with premeditation.
In his opening statement, Deputy County Attorney Matt Smith showed the jury several photos of the two victims, one their 1945 wedding picture as well as recent pictures.
Smith also told jury that Finch admitted in a taped confession that he smothered Mrs.
Boucher with his hands, that Finch's blood was found on a bedspread at the home and that items stolen from Bouchers' home were found in Finch's possession when he was arrested two days later.
Smith related how Finch met Ellison at a Lake Havasu City bar and proceeded to come to Kingman to kill the Bouchers.
He told of phone lines being cut and other grisly details of the murder.
In the defense's opening statement, defense attorney Lee Novak told the jury that it was Ellison who masterminded the burglary and told Finch what to do.
Novak also said evidence will show that Ellison pointed a gun at Finch and forced him to kill Mrs.
"We'll show evidence that Richard is intimidated by this man, (Ellison)" Novak said.
"You'll see from evidence whose idea it was to go there.
Everything that happened that night was Charles Ellison's direction."
Novak also said that Ellison had connections in Kingman and that Finch had never been to Kingman.
He said Ellison gave the stolen items to Finch and threatened to kill him if he told anyone of the murders.
As Novak spoke, Finch broke down in tears and was comforted by attorney Rick Williams.
Novak summed up his statement by asking the jury to consider a lesser charge for Finch such as second-degree murder.
According to court reports, Finch and Ellison first met in a bar in Lake Havasu City Feb.
24 last year.
Ellison allegedly asked Finch to back him up for an out-of-town job.
Finch agreed and accompanied him to Kingman where they stopped at another bar, then proceeded to a Kingman neighborhood, court reports said.
They allegedly entered the Bouchers' home, tied up the couple and stole some jewelry including a 50th anniversary wedding ring, a gun and some cash.
After allegedly suffocating the couple, they then untied the bodies to make it appear as if the couple had died of natural causes, court records stated.
Sheriff's deputies discovered the Bouchers' bodies after their daughter, Vivian Brown, called her parents' home and got no response, records said.
Finch was arrested at his Lake Havasu City home Feb.
26, 1999 and Ellison was arrested separately also in Lake Havasu City several days later, reports said.
Ellison's trial date is expected to begin in November.
His next hearing has been set for Sept.
Finch's trial should last about two weeks.