Decades-old murder trial underway in Nashville - WKRN News 2

Decades-old murder trial underway in Nashville

Sarah Des Prez Sarah Des Prez
Jerome Barrett Jerome Barrett

More than 30 years after her death, the man accused of killing Sarah Des Prez is on trial for her murder.

Jerome Barrett, 61, was arrested in November 2007 after police linked DNA found in Des Prez's bedding to him.

The 19-year-old Vanderbilt University student was found dead in her apartment on February 2, 1975.

The victim's brother, Roger Des Prez, was the first person to take the stand after opening statements Wednesday morning.

He said he and his father found his sister's body after they had not heard from her.

Roger Des Prez testified they found his sister in bed, undressed from the waist down.

The victim's neighbor, Lynn Redding, who was 18 years old at the time, testified she was keeping Sarah's dog Saturday night.

When she went inside Sarah's apartment early Sunday [February 2, 1975] to get food, she saw Sarah in bed but thought she was asleep.

"[The dog] went running in there.  I went to the kitchen, being quiet, to get dog food," she recalled.  "As I was coming out I noticed the dog slinking and whining and I didn't know why.  I said, ‘Come on, let's go to my apartment.'"

The medical examiner at the time could not determine Des Prez's manner of death.

The defense says instead of asking all these years "who did it", investigators should have been asking whether it was a homicide.   

The trial is expected to last about a week.

Barrett is also charged in the 1975 murder of nine-year-old Girl Scout Marcia Trimble, who disappeared during the same time period Des Prez was killed.

He will go on trial for her murder later this year.

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