PORTLAND, Maine — The murder trial of a New York man accused of killing his married girlfriend is underway in Portland.
Prosecutors said Anthony Pratt Jr. shot Margarita “Rita” Fisenko Scott, 29, inside a Portland apartment in November 2012.
In January 2013, Scott’s body was found inside her car, which was parked in a Motel 6 lot.
On Monday, attorneys gave their opening statements.
Prosecutors said when Scott died, she was separated from her husband and living with her drug dealer, Chris Jennings and his wife, Tunile. Pratt also lived in the apartment and they became intimate.
Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber said Pratt shot Scott through the neck with a .40 caliber pistol, then loaded her body into the SUV she shared with her husband and left the car in the motel lot.
Macomber said the very next day, Pratt took off for New York City.
He said throughout the trial, jurors will hear from a witness who saw Pratt move the body. They’ll also see evidence linking Pratt to the crime scene, like a piece of chewing gum with his DNA on it that was used to fill a bullet hole in the wall.
“And the paper to cover the bullet hole in the living room came from Anthony Pratt and only the defendant Anthony Pratt,” said Macomber.
Macomber said a day before the murder, Pratt had assaulted Scott after she went to her husband’s apartment.
“Justice Warren will instruct you, you may consider that as intent for motive, but you cannot consider it for evidence,” said Dylan Boyd, one of Pratt’s defense attorneys.
Boyd said evidence will show Pratt is innocent.
Boyd said the investigation by Portland police was clouded once their suspicions landed on Pratt. He said prosecutors are ignoring a video that disputes their timeline of the murder.
Pratt’s lawyers said he only left Maine to help his family face the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. They said the evidence points to Chris and Tunile Jennings, and that Tunile even threatened to hurt Scott if she slept with Chris. Attorneys said, in fact, Scott and Chris had already been together.
“And what she said to Rita was that, ‘I’ll kill you if you do it,’” said Boyd. “It wasn’t something that could be interpreted as a threat. Those were her words, ladies and gentleman.”
Prosecutors called their first few witnesses on Monday afternoon, including a Portland patrol officer and a friend of Scott and her husband.