An Anchorage man's murder trial began Wednesday. The prosecution says Elmer Seetot brutally butchered his friend Terry Jackson, then stuffed his body in a freezer and attempted to hide the crime, while the defense says the facts are blurry.
In October 2007, Seetot decided to celebrate his 21st birthda by getting drunk for several days. He and his friend Jackson bought a keg, then some tequila -- then some more tequila.
Seetot says he blacked out at his grandmother's house after drinking too much. He says he doesn't remember anything about that night.
Seetot's attorney, Andrew Lambert, described what happened leading up to the murder from the perspective of his client.
“What I do remember is I woke up in the morning and saw this blood trail from here over toward the bathroom and from the bathroom over toward the kitchen,” Lambert described.
More chilling? What was inside the freezer: Body parts stuffed in trash bags.
Seetot's grandmother called 911.
“After murdering Terry, he strips him of his clothes. He then moves the body to the bathroom of Ruth's house. He uses the tub and tools to mutilate Terry's body,” said prosecutor Gustaf Olson.
The prosecution says Seetot hit Jackson on the head with a frying pan, and then tried to use a hack saw to cut off the limbs of the body -- but that was too difficult, so Seetot surgically removed the legs while his grandmother slept in the next bedroom.
“I couldn't believe what he told me, what he'd done,” his grandmother, Ruth Seetot, said.
“There was blood all over the freezer, and I was like holy (expletive) I shut the freezer and said, ‘What the hell happened here,’” Lambert said, again describing the defendant’s perspective.
“A closer look showed what appeared to be a human foot inside a plastic bag in the freezer,” APD officer Kevin Palmatier said.
The defense told the jury there's no doubt Seetot tampered with evidence by cutting the legs off of the body, but said they have to consider that separately from the murder charge.
Prosecutors say Seetot tried to clean up the blood. The bathroom was wiped clean, but under an ultraviolet light they say it looked more like a bloodbath.
In court Wednesday, the defendant's sister, Hattie Wright, refused to testify and was told by the judge she would be held in contempt of court.
To keep her daughter from going to jail, her mother took the stand in her place to discuss injuries Seetot sustained in a fistfight the day before the murder.
Seetot is charged with murder in the second degree and tampering with evidence.
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