FORT LAUDERDALE(CBSMiami) — Opening statements began in the murder trial of a teenager accused of killing his young neighbor during a botched burglary.
D’Marcus Tucker is now nearly the same age as the young woman he’s accused of robbing and killing in 2014.
At his trial for the murder of Nicole Franco began, Tucker seemed to relax seeing his family pack a second row in the courtroom.
The veteran prosecutor choked up describing the promising life of Franco, an aspiring pastry chef, cut short.
“Do not take anything from this, I’m a crier, it’s my second nature,” Maria Schneider said.
In the early morning hours of June 3, 2014, prosecutors said Trucker broke into the Oakland Park apartment Franco was sleeping in.
They said Tucker, who lived in an adjacent building, stole Franco’s wallet, but panicked when she woke up.
Investigators said Tucker stabbed Franco to death.
Franco called 911 for help but she did not survive.
“One of the stab wounds had such force when it was inflicted that it pierced a T-shirt, well, it pierced the comforter that was covering her, the T-shirt she had on.
Prosecutors said they found Tucker’s skin cells on the comforter.
Franco’s mother testified she had bought the comforter only a few days before she was killed.
She described the awful moment when she learned her daughter had been murdered.
“Actually, they came to our house. I mean I just dropped to the floor,” Teri Franco said.
But Tucker’s lawyers said there’s plenty of doubt for the jury to consider.
The believed murder weapon, one of Franco’s kitchen knives, wasn’t found until four months after her death.
At the time, Tucker was living in an adjacent apartment building with his mother.
When he was interrogated.
His lawyers said the confession was a forced.
“’Don’t make me tell your mom you’re a monster, you’re a monster.’ You can hear him, ‘I just wanna go home,’” said defense attorney David Wheeler. “Watch carefully, you’re gonna have to listen for it. They’re gonna spoon feed you specific facts.”
Tucker was offered a plea deal before trial of 50 years in prison for pleading guilty. He turned that down and now faces the maximum of life in prison.