LIVINGSTON — Blood was splattered across the bed, walls and the TV set when law enforcement arrived at the crime scene, a prosecutor said Tuesday at the outset of the second-degree murder trial of Jerry Pinestraw, who is accused of killing live-in girlfriend Nicole Ozment in front of one of her children last year.
“He hit her again and again and again and she was beaten to death. … The beating went on and on,” said Assistant District Attorney Charlotte Foster, who described Ozment’s broken nose, eyes swollen shut, and cuts and bruises that covered her body.
Tuesday, attorneys selected a Livingston Parish jury of nine women and three men, with two male alternates, before launching into their opening statements. Prosecutors gave a general overview of several witnesses they intend to call, while the defense’s remarks were brief and primarily addressed how difficult Ozment’s death has been for her family.
Foster told jurors she planned to call the first deputy to respond to Ozment’s death. The same man had met her a few months before her death when she called the Sheriff’s Office, and he arrested Pinestraw on domestic abuse and battery, a case that was still pending when she died, Foster said.
Pinestraw told law enforcement he had been at his mother’s house the night before her death and found her already deceased when he returned to their home south of Denham Springs, the prosecutor continued. But a neighbor with a surveillance camera captured Pinestraw on video walking around with a white bag, and when investigators found it and looked inside, they found clothes and a blood-stained pipe, Foster said.
As he carried the bag, Pinestraw was trailed by two of Ozment’s three children, who were described as being 7, 8 and 9 years old, though it was unclear if that is their current age or their ages at the time. The Sheriff’s Office has said Pinestraw is not their father.
All of Ozment’s children were at the home when their mother was killed, according to prosecutors.
Defense attorney Ryan Brown said one child witnessed Ozment’s death, but also noted the child was the sole witness.
The attorney offered personal condolences to Ozment’s family, and the children in particular. He also prepared jurors for recollections of a violent case.
“You’re going to hear terrible facts,” he told them, saying the death was a result of a “sudden heated argument gone bad.”
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