Cold Case Goes To Trial After 39 Years

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Memories may be faded but a 40-year-old murder case is finally seeing it's day in court.

"No I did not mis-speak when I said 1975, yes this case is 39-years-old," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chris Dickerson.

George Alexander is facing first degree murder charges in connection to the 1975 shooting of Edward Stankiewicz. The trial began Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court. It is being tried before a 12 person jury, with 3 alternates.

"You'll hear testimony that many of the people involved as interviewing people or who were interviewed have since passed away as well cause its been such a long time," Dickerson explained in court on Monday.

Police found Stankiewicz, 41, outside the bar he owned, The Pink Elephant, with shots in his head and neck. Prosecutors say it was part of a robbery as Stankiewicz was leaving work.

"I heard three sharp noises probably four minutes to three minutes before dispatch," said Lawrence Fentin, the prosecution's first witness. Fentin was the first Jackson Police Officer to respond to the scene. He later testified those noises were shots.

It's a case that was cold for nearly four decades, until the Jackson Police Cold Case unit reopened it. Prosecutors say the reason it took so long to get to court will be revealed later in the trial.

"There is no DNA evidence," Dickerson told the jury. "We're going to be relying solely on the testimony of witnesses."

One of those witnesses is Emzie Elliot. At a preliminary exam last year Elliot testified that he gave Alexander his shotgun the day before the shooting. Prosecutors have offered Elliot immunity for testifying in this case. It's a point the defense says they'll be focusing on when Elliot takes the stand.

"That gives him incentive to lie," said Lillian Diallo, attorney for the defense.

For now it's up to the jury to decide on the facts of this case.

"That's the only way that we can get justice in this case is by listening and seeing how all this was put together," Diallo said.

The prosecution has a list of 22 witnesses they may call to the stand. The trial is expected to last all week.

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