SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- The trial of an Industry man accused of murder entered its second day on Friday. Jay Mercier is facing up to live in prison for allegedly beating 20-year-old Rita St. Peter to death back in 1980. On Friday state prosecutors got to make their case against the man they say has been a prime suspect in the murder for decades.
The prosecution says it has tire tracks that tie Mercier's pickup truck to the scene of the crime. Rita St. Peter's body was found off of Campground Road in Anson on the morning of July 5, 1980. She was last seen alive leaving a bar on Main Street in Madison the night before.
Friday morning, the jury heard from two people who were also in Madison that night. Daniel Moody told jurors he was going into the bar, which was called 'The Depot' on Main Street. As he came in, he said he passed by Rita St. Peter. He told the jury she was leaving and appeared to be upset.
Moody said he also noticed Jay Mercier walking towards the bar when he was on his way in. A second witness, Kathleen Chagnon, said St. Peter appeared to be intoxicated when she left 'The Depot.' She says the victim started walking down Main Street towards the bridge that leads to Anson. Not long after that she told jurors she witnessed Mercier get in his truck, make a sharp U turn and then head in that direction.
The defense did highlight how both witnesses gave different information to police in recent years compared to when they were interviewed during the initial investigation in 1980. The prosecution will continue to make its case when the trial continues on Monday.