Opening statements began Thursday in the trial of the Iraq war veteran who stands accused of murdering a teen.
Robert Marko, an Army specialist out of Fort Carson, was arrested on October 13, 2008 for allegedly murdering 19-year-old Judi Lawrence. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In court Thursday, the defense never denied Marko killed Lawrence in October, 2008, but they did argue Marko was insane when he did it. Marko's lawyer told jurors he was a "damaged man" who was neglected and abused emotionally and sexually as a child.
As 11 News reported, on the day he was arrested, Marko, then 21, led police to private property off of Old Stage Road, where Lawrence’s body had been left, throat sliced. Marko told officers that he and the victim had sex, and then got into an argument. While arguing, Marko allegedly blindfolded and gagged Lawrence before cutting her throat.
In court Thursday, the defense argued Marko experienced dissociation when he killed Lawrence, meaning he blacked out or lost memory. The defense says dissociation happens to a person with a troubled mind.
The prosecution argues Marko knew exactly what he was doing.
Family members said at the time that Lawrence met Marko online.
Officers say that the pair met up on October 10, the last day Lawrence was seen.
Marko joined the Army in June of 2006, and was deployed to Iraq in 2007. He has undergone psychological evaluations since pleading not guilty. Marko faces first degree murder and sexual assault charges.