TAMPA, Florida (AP) - Testimony has begun in the trial of a Tampa man prosecutors say brutally killed a 34-year-old father and then showed off the victim's body to a group of friends.
Amer Ejak, 20, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2009 death of Thomas Johannesen. Ejak was 16 at the time of Johannesen's death. He is being prosecuted as an adult.
Prosecutors say that along with a co-defendant, Ejak then placed a plastic bag over Johannesen's head and strangled him with a belt. The pair tied a red bandanna around Johannesen's mouth as a sign of their rival gang affiliation and stuffed Johannesen into the closet at his apartment.
Sometime after the killing, officials said the men showed off the body to friends. Ejak's attorney said the state's evidence falls short of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Ejak was the killer.