Testimony is under way in the Doris Phillips murder trial in 40th District Court, Judge Gene Knize presiding.
Phillips, 81, disappeared from her Reagor Springs home July 25, 2006. Her body was recovered several weeks later, Sept. 8, in an abandoned house off of Farm-to-Market 984, about 1/2-mile north of the Bardwell city limits. The location is about seven miles from her residence on Old Church Road.
The defendant, Miguel Arciba, 50, who has been in custody on a $1 million bond since his arrest on a related charge Sept. 3, 2006, led authorities to the body.
If convicted, Arciba faces life in prison without parole relating to the murder of Doris Phillips. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in the case.
During opening arguments, chief felony prosecutor Don Maxfield said items that were missing from the residence – a shotgun and a jewelry box – that were subsequently recovered were linked to Arciba. Maxfield also told jurors he would introduce DNA evidence from a knife belonging to Arciba.
As he had during pre-trial motions, defense attorney Charles Slaton alleged to the seven-male, five-female jurors that authorities threatened Arciba, telling him they would "shoot him" if he didn't cooperate. Slaton also alleged another individual is responsible for the homicide.
Testimony this morning included the introduction of more than 50 photographs from Phillips' house as her son and authorities found it the night of her disappearance. The first deputy on scene testified as well as Jim Phillips, Doris Phillips' son, who initially discovered she was missing from her home.
Waxahachie-based attorney Charles Slayton is representing Arciba in the case.
The trial is expected to last about a week.
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