SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- On day three of the Jay Mercier murder trial jurors heard the latest evidence that the state has against him in the murder of Rita St. Peter: DNA that was found on the victim's body.
Mercier, who is from Industry, is accused of beating St. Peter to death in July of 1980 and dumping her body off of Campground Road in Anson.
Prosecutors say the DNA proves he killed St. Peter in cold blood and then lied to police. For years they say Mercier told investigators he never knew the victim or in any way had sex with her. The state says the DNA finding shows the exact opposite.
A state police detective got DNA from Mercier from a cigarette butt he threw away. Investigators then compared that sample with unknown DNA that was found in sperm cells on St. Peter's body. Studies concluded that the two were an exact match.
A scientist testified from the Maine State Police Crime Lab on Monday. She told the jury that's the odds of someone having the same DNA profile are one in almost a trillion.
Mercier's attorneys argued that just because their client lied about having sex with St. Peter doesn't mean the case is closed.
"Since our opening we've suggested that the evidence is Jay Mercier had sex with Rita St. Peter and that the evidence is going to show in the next few days that he denied it for some time but that's not murder," said John Martin, who is one of the defendant's attorneys, "that's not what we considered the evidence. I mean this is what the state has said brings back the case...and I just think that's not enough."
The defense is also pointing at other DNA strands that were found on St. Peter's clothing. Studies showed they came from two males who could not be identified.
The state is expected to continue with its case when the trial resumes on Tuesday.