SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Prosecutors in the Jay Mercier murder trial continued to make their case before a jury on Tuesday. Mercier is charged with brutally killing Rita St. Peter of Anson back in 1980 and then dumping her body.
Mercier pleaded not guilty to the murder and on Tuesday the jury got to hear that denial in the defendant's own words through a series of recorded police interviews.
State police detective Bryant Jacques talked with Jay Mercier several times back in 2010 and audio recordings from several of those interviews were played for the jury. In each one the defendant adamantly denied ever knowing Rita St. Peter, and that continued to be the case even as police presented him with mounting evidence.
Detective Jacques was able to acquire a DNA sample from Jay Mercier after he threw out a cigarette butt during their first interview. For decades, Mercier said he never met Rita St. Peter or had any kind of a sexual relationship with her. However lab tests would later show that DNA from the cigarette butt matched DNA that was taken from sperm cells found on St. Peter's body.
Even when police presented him with that finding, Mercier stood by his claims. In a recorded interview with police in November of 2010, he event went as far as to call the DNA match 'a miracle.'
Mercier is facing up to life in prison if convicted of murder. Prosecutors are also pointing at tire tracks that the say tie his truck to the scene where Rita St. Peter's body was found on Campground Road in Anson.
The defense is expected to take its turn when the trial resumes on Wednesday.