BRADENTON - The day after her 74th birthday, authorities found Janice Fore dead, bound and gagged with duct tape. One of two men who killed her left a fingerprint behind on the duct tape, Assistant State Attorney Art Brown told jurors this morning.
In a short opening argument, Brown pointed to 21-year-old Otis C. Mack, sitting at the defendant's table in a dress shirt and tie, as the owner of the fingerprint.
"The fingerprint was of this man sitting before you," Brown said.
A Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputy found Fore suffocated on her bed, and it was later revealed she had suffered a broken rib in what authorities believe was a burglary committed by Mack, and his co-defendant in Fore's killing, Marcos Herrera.
Herrera, a former neighbor of Fore, has already been found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder and burglary in Fore's killing. He has been sentenced to life in prison. Mack faces the same charges.
Several times during his opening statement, Brown spoke of Fore celebrating her birthday the day before her death.
"She went over to a neighbor's to celebrate. She had cake," Brown said.
Brown also told jurors they will later hear Mack speaking to sheriff's detectives days after the killing and admitting to breaking into Fore's home. Mack also told detectives Fore, who suffered from a lung disease, pleaded for her breathing apparatus during the burglary, Brown said.
Mack's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Steven Schaefer, declined to make an opening statement.
For complete coverage of today's testimony, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Bradenton Herald.