The trial of Bradley Bruce, 40, started Tuesday morning.
Bruce is on trial for kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm, aggravated battery causing bodily harm, grand theft of a motor vehicle and robbery in an incident that occurred February 11, 2011.
According to a police report, Bruce eluded authorities after the incident involving a woman who was riding with him at the time and was left on the side of the road near the State Road 12/Interstate 10 interchange.
He was later captured in Tampa by U.S. Marshals.
According to a crime report at the time of the incident, officers found a badly beaten woman at an area near the intersection of State Road 12 (Greensboro Highway) and Interstate 10.
In his opening statement, assistant state attorney Frank Allman explained that the victim had been dating Bruce for two months and they were returning from Ft. Walton Beach at the time of the incident.
The two had been arguing prior to leaving the beach area, he said.
The argument continued in her vehicle where he allegedly started hitting her in the face with his fists.
Allman added that the victim had been threatened with her life at the time of the incident.
Once they reached the area of the Greensboro Highway and Interstate 10, Bruce exited the interstate.
Allman said the victim then started grabbing at the steering wheel and the car ran off the road.
The victim opened the door and escaped, running into the woods near Brinson Road.
Allman said that Bruce grabbed her hair and when she got out the car door, her hair came out.
The hair was found in the car along with blood of the victim. The car had been abandoned not far from the Interstate exchange.
In defense attorney David Kemp’s opening statement, he said that pictures of the victim would be shown to the jury. Those pictures, he said, would draw a reaction from the jury.
Those pictures, he said, would explain why the investigation in this case was done so badly.
He continued to say that he believed the evidence would show that law enforcement officers threw evidence away, left evidence untested, rendered it untestable and contaminated evidence.
He said these were flaws that should not have occurred. The flaws, he said, were based on a mis-placed trust on the state’s part.
He asked the jury to hold the state to the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, not just clear and convincing, and to require them to prove all charges completely.
The trial is expected to take several days to complete and The Herald will post the outcome on its website, havanaherald.net and Havana Herald Facebook page, with more of the case in next week’s paper.