Opening statements made in trial over 11-year-old’s murder

COLUMBIANA, AL (WBRC) – The jury has been seated and opening statements have been made in the murder trial of 37-year-old Ryan Gerald Russell.

Russell is accused in the shooting death of Katherine Helen Gillespie. Gillespie was related to Russell and living with him in a home on Kerry Downs Road.

Prosecutors say Russell shot and killed Gillespie in June of 2008 and stuffed her body in a trash can. In an emotional opening statement, the prosecution made it clear that their aim is to show Russell as a heartless caregiver who felt the 11-year-old was "trash to be discarded." They say graphic evidence will prove it.

The defense's opening statement did not try to dispute that Russell is the killer, but said that it can be proven that Russell did it unintentionally.

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