Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trial starts for man accused of wife’s 1983 death

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Trial has begun for a family photographer accused of killing his estranged wife 26 years ago to avoid losing custody of his daughters.

William Mordick faces life in prison if convicted of killing Katherine O’Connell Mordick at her Southern California home in 1983. New DNA testing led to his arrest last year in Spokane, Wash., where he owns a photography business known largely for family portraits and wedding pictures.

During opening statements Wednesday, his lawyer told jurors that the 63-year-old defendant is innocent. The lawyer discounted DNA evidence that William Mordick’s blood was at the death scene.

Prosecutors claim he left his daughters, then 2 and 4, in his car while he slashed her throat five days before a divorce hearing.