High profile Shoals murder trial underway - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

High profile Shoals murder trial underway

Ronald Weems leaving the Colbert County Courthouse after jury selection. Ronald Weems leaving the Colbert County Courthouse after jury selection.

Opening statements began Tuesday in a Colbert County murder trial.

The first full day of testimony got underway for the brutal murder of Amanda Taylor.

Ronald Weems is accused of using a nylon strap to kill Taylor and then dismembering her body in 2011.

During opening statements, the defense claimed Taylor attacked Weems with a concrete rock.

As for abusing her corpse, his attorney said he should be punished for it.

Later Tuesday afternoon, a Muscle Shoals investigator testified it is not possible that Taylor could have thrown the rock at Weems in the basement. The investigator said the ceilings were too low to throw a 31 and a half pound rock overhead as Weems described.

The prosecution said Taylor's death is a result of a conspiracy between Weems and Taylor to steal more than $10,000 from laurel Pruett.

The jury heard testimony from a half dozen people, including Taylor's boyfriend, Robert Lee, and her sister, Brandy Weems - the last two people to have seen her alive.

Investigators testified Tuesday the case originally started as an identity theft case turned missing persons case, which ultimately turned into murder.

The jury heard testimony from investigators who said they began looking for Amanda Taylor after Laurel Pruett discovered Taylor stole more than $10,000 from her by using a fake ID and opening up an account in her name and cashing a state check.

Weems' defense attorney claimed he did not know about the theft, but Tuesday prosecutors shared text conversations between Weems and Taylor that suggest otherwise.

The jury saw several photos of Taylor's remains that were found in an area of Gnat Pond Road.

Testimony from forensic experts indicated more of Taylor's remains were found in the car, kitchen, and laundry room of Weems' home.

Surveillance photos were shown in court of Taylor at a local bank withdrawing thousands of dollars from a fake account in Pruett's name. Testimony revealed Pruett reported the theft to police.

At that same time, Weems was with Pruett, who also filed a report saying Taylor attacked him, leaving scratches on his body.

After talking with Taylor's family, investigators determined she was missing.

Taylor's sister filed a missing persons report for Amanda Taylor within days after Pruett and Weems talked to police.

Testimony also showed that a woman named Ashley Greenhill led investigators to the site where Taylor's remains had been dropped.

The photos of Taylor's remains stirred up emotions from her family and friends.

Meanwhile, Laurel Pruett, Ashley Greenhill and Matthew Fox all pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and abuse of a corpse Monday. All three are accused of helping Weems dispose of Taylor's body.

They still have to go before a judge before the pleas are official. They are expected to testify against Weems.

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