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Prosecutors, defense make opening arguments in Zocco trial

Posted at 1:57 PM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 17:34:54-04

MILWAUKEE -- Opening arguments began Tuesday for the Milwaukee man accused of killing Kelly Dwyer. Kris Zocco is already in prison for possession of child pornography and drugs.

If found guilty for Dwyer’s murder, he would likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

Prosecutors say all signs point to Zocco murdering Dwyer back in 2013. Zocco’s defense argues all of their evidence is circumstantial. 

The jury made up of 12 women and two men took their seats in a courtroom Tuesday morning to hear prosecutors and Zocco’s defense begin making their cases. 

“You will hear that a final call was placed to Kelly Dwyer by the defendant Mr. Zocco at 2:33 a.m. and this is the last phone call that Kelly Dwyer’s phone ever receives,” said prosecutor Sara Hill. 

Hill walked the jury through a timeline starting with Zocco and Dwyer entering his east side apartment on the early morning of October 11, 2013. Surveillance video shows the couple entering, but only Zocco was seen leaving. 

“Despite saying he’s working throughout the day, he seems to spend the better part of his day going in and out of the garage,” said Hill. 

Prosecutors believe Zocco suffocated and strangled Dwyer to death during a violent sex act. He’s accused of removing her body in a golf travel bag before going to his girlfriend’s house that night.  

“He indicates his phone isn’t working, his sim card isn’t working and appears to be fumbling with his sim card,” Hill said. “He appears nervous and sweaty in the evening.” 

Dwyer’s body wasn’t found until 19 months later in rural Jefferson County. 

Rebecca Coffee - Defense
“Kris Zocco is not guilty,” defense attorney Rebecca Coffee told the jury. 

Coffee argues prosecutors don’t have physical evidence to prove he is responsible for Dwyer’s death.  

“Mr. Zocco spoke with police, he answered their questions, he met with them more than once, he allowed them into his apartment, he allowed them to search his apartment,” Coffee said. 

After opening statements, the jury left the courtroom for a trip to look inside Zocco’s old apartment and where Dwyer’s body was found in Jefferson County. Tune into TODAY’S TMJ4 Live at 5:00 for that story.