The trial of a man accused of murder got under way Tuesday in Harlan Circuit Court.
Robert Curry, 40, was arrested by Kentucky State Police over a year ago on charges stemming from the death of Bruce Penix.
Curry is charged with murder, second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing and resisting arrest.
Special Judge David Williams presided over the proceedings, with opening arguments beginning at 1 p.m. after the court spent the morning seating a jury.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Parker Boggs opened the case for the state.
“Bruce Penix is dead,” said Boggs. “He’s dead at 41. He’s dead in his own home. Nothing we can do here can change that.”
Boggs told the jury Penix died of blunt force trauma to the head inflicted by Curry.
According to Boggs, evidence will show that Curry was found on the sofa next to Penix and Curry had blood on his hands, shoes and back.
Boggs said a witness viewed Penix on his back in the floor and Curry laying on a close by couch through a window and called 911.
In his opening statement, Curry’s attorney Doug Asher asked the jury to remember everything Boggs had said.
“This case has it all,” said Asher. “Blood, gore, lies and betrayal.”
Asher asked the jury to listen to the case with an open mind.
According to Asher, “Dopers and drunks” routinely were at Penix’s home, and at the time of the incident Curry was “dog stinking drunk.”
Asher said testimony would show at least two other people were in the house, hairs found on the hands of Penix did not match Curry’s, and there was also blood from an unknown party found at the scene.
Testimony began after opening arguments, with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Davenport questioning Harlan County Deputy Coroner Jim Rich.
Rich testified Penix was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rich said when he arrived, he saw Penix on his back in a pool of blood. Curry was in the back of a police cruiser yelling and hitting his head against the window.
Testimony showed Kentucky State Trooper Rodney Sturgill and Evarts Police Officer John Teagle were first to arrive on the scene.
Teagle testified Curry was found asleep on a couch about 7 feet away from Penix’s body.
According to Teagle, Curry stated “what’s going on” and “you’re not going to pin this murder on me” when he was taken into custody at the scene.
Boggs called Kentucky State Police Trooper Mike Cornett to the stand as the day’s final witness. Cornett was a detective at the time of the incident and investigated the case.
Cornett testified when he arrived at the scene, Curry was in the cruiser yelling and beating his head against the window.
Cornett stated he saw beer cans all over the room, as well as bloody shoe prints. Cornett further testified there was a blood stain on the wall that appeared as if someone had been leaning up against it.
Testimony continues today beginning at 8:30 p.m.
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, or on Twitter @joe_hde