PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A man from Scarborough accused of trying to kill a woman went on trial Tuesday morning.
Eric Gwaro is facing four charges, including attempted murder, in connection with the attack in Portland last year. Jurors will have to decide just two of the charges against Gwaro. That's because in a surprise move the defense admitted that Gwaro did indeed hit the woman and violated conditions of his release. Gwaro initially told investigators he was not involved in the attack, but rather was chasing after the person who was when police caught up with him.
At question is whether or not Gwaro is guilty of attempted murder or elevated aggravated assault.
The attack happened last August outside the Big Apple store on Washington Avenue in Portland. According to the prosecution the victim 25-year old Sheri York was looking for ride home but didn't have money for cab. She got in a car with Gwaro and when she retrurned her face was swollen and she was sobbing. The prosecution claims Gwaro then viscously beat and kicked her, leaving her in an alley.
"The evidence of his intent to kill her is his kicking and stomping until she was lifeless, then hiding her body", Prosecutor Meg Elam told jurors.
The defense claims York wanted money in exchange for sex and when Gwaro refused she grabbed his money. Gwaro's attorney says that's when Gwaro snapped.
"He struck this woman, hard, several times. That is not a contest. We expect that you will consider seriously of finding him guilty of assault, of aggravated assault", said Gwaro's attorney Dan Lilley.
According to the prosecution York still needs help to walk and suffers from physical and emotional impairments. She is expected to testify against Gwaro. The trial is expected to last the week, possibly into early next week.