AMITE — On the night of Aug. 13, 2010, Eric Maurer climbed through a window at the home of Rube Rogers, 65, confronted him outside Rogers’ bedroom and threw Rogers down a set of stairs, prosecutor Brad Berner told a jury Wednesday.
Maurer took Rogers’ credit cards and truck keys from his bedroom and then saw Rogers speaking on the phone, Berner said.
Maurer went downstairs, slashed the victim’s throat and stabbed him several times before fleeing in Rogers’ truck, the prosecutor told jurors.
Maurer, who has pleaded insanity, went on trial Wednesday for aggravated burglary and second-degree murder before 21st Judicial District Judge Doug Hughes.
“Things are not always what they seem,” defense attorney Erica Williams told the jury.
Maurer didn’t enter the house with a weapon or the intent to kill Rogers, Williams said.
“He went there with the intention of going back home,” and brought a duffel bag of clothes, the defense attorney said.
As children, Maurer and a twin brother were left by their father to live with Rogers, and Maurer still listed Rogers’ Paradise Road house in Ponchatoula as his home address, she said.
The situation wasn’t paradise, Williams added.
“You will see and hear things that will shock and upset you,” she told jurors.
In looking at pictures from the crime scene, jurors should consider heat of passion and Maurer’s state of mind on that night, she said.
“Something had to have happened,” Williams said. “By the conclusion of the trial, you should be able to fill in the blanks.”
Williams told jurors they will hear admissions of the stabbing and cocaine use and asked them to pay attention to Maurer’s demeanor when he made those admissions.
Berner said he plans to present a recording of a 911 call Rogers made moments before he was killed.
“Eric Maurer committed this murder,” the prosecutor told jurors. “He was in his right mind at the time.”
Berner asked jurors to pay close attention to physicians who testify about Maurer’s state of mind as jurors consider the defendant’s insanity plea.
After the killing, Maurer fled to Tennessee and registered in a motel under Rogers’ name, Berner said.
Authorities said Maurer and his father, Ricky Maurer, were arrested at the motel about 50 miles from Nashville.
Ricky Maurer originally was charged as an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder. On March 2, 2011, Ricky Maurer pleaded no contest to the amended charge of criminal mischief, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Ricky Maurer was sentenced to six months in the parish jail and given credit for time served, said Rachael Domiano, a spokeswoman for the office.
The trial continues Thursday.