BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - He refused to take a plea deal, so now a Hernando County man has to prove he didn't mean to kill his younger brother and then bury the body in his parents' yard.
At one point during Monday's proceeding, Stanley Eckard would smile and give a thumbs up to a friend. But for most of the day, with his family sitting right behind him during jury selection, he would sit stone cold, showing no sign of any emotion.
Eckard's mother, on the other hand, would barely hold it together in the courtroom and would break down outside the courtroom, sobbing.
Stanley is now on trial for the murder of his brother Sean back in June of 2010.
During jury selection, Assistant State Attorney Peter Margin would tell potential jurors, "If you were thinking that this was going to be like television and the movies, I'm going to disappoint you. It isn't. This is real life."
But the story does play out like a TV show or a movie.
Authorities believe back in June of 2010, Stanley Eckard wrapped a cord around his younger brother Sean's neck and killed him, and then buried his body next to the family's house in Spring Hill.
The possible motive? A dispute over a girl.
Reports are Stanley then told his parents his brother had left for California.
Sean's body was then discovered by his father, who unearthed it because he wanted to know what Stanley had buried next to the house.
But even with the body and what might appear to many to be an attempt to cover up a murder, Stanley's parents have always maintained they believe the killing was an accident.
And in court Monday during jury selection, their son's defense council, Alan Fanter, would sew that seed with potential jurors, hoping it might grow with the jury. He said to them, "It's important that you don't make assumptions. That you don't make up your mind. Keep an open mind."
Opening statements are set for Tuesday. The trial is expected to last all week.
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