Woodward, Okla. —
The second degree murder trial against David Lee Yelloweagle is set to begin today.
Yelloweagle is the third man charged with the Sept. 2010 death of 20-year-old Jon Watkins.
Yelloweagle and former co-defendants Dillan Shane Hager and Jeffrey Shawn Spencer were accused of beating Watkins to death and leaving his body in the back of a pickup in a field south of Woodward.
The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Watkins' death as a homicide by blunt force trauma.
Hager and Spencer have already pled in their respective cases.
Hager pled guilty to second degree murder in Jan. 2012 and received a 35-year split sentence, with 20 years incarceration and 15 years suspended sentence.
Spencer pled in Feb. 2012 to a lesser charge of manslaughter in the first degree and received a 15-year sentence with all but the first year suspended.
Yelloweagle's trial was originally set to be held in Oct. 2012, but was delayed after prosecutors filed a separate case against him, charging Yelloweagle with encouraging a minor to commit or participate in committing manslaughter in the first degree.
The new case led Yelloweagle's defense attorney Peter Scimeca to file motions to have both cases dismissed, which meant the trial had to be delayed until those motions could be addressed.
Once the motions were denied, the trial was reset for Aug. 20, 2013. Seven days were set aside for the trial.
Now that the trial is finally proceeding, attorneys are expected to interview prospective jurors today with a goal of impaneling 12 men and women to hear the case.
Once a jury is impaneled the case will begin with opening arguments to be followed by witness testimony.
Both former co-defendants Hager and Spencer are listed among witnesses who could be called to testify.