The second of three people charged with the murder of Felipe Lopez, 24, of Friendship, whose badly burned body was found in a burned-out truck in March of this year, begins today in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.
David K. Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, will go on trial on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated arson, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
In March, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said his office received a 911 call that a truck was on fire in the 4400 block of Junior Furnace Powellsville Road in Franklin Furnace. Deputies and the Green Township Fire Department responded to the location. Donini said the body was discovered after the fire was put out. Detectives and the State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene to investigate.
Donini said the body was sent to the Montgomery County Morgue for an autopsy and through forensic technology the remains were identified as Lopez. Detectives said they found the vehicle used by the suspects, which led to several suspects being identified and questioned. Deputies recovered two weapons they suspected were used in murder and the victim’s cell phone.
On Monday, Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said Assistant Prosecutors Pat Apel and Julie Hutchinson were putting the finishing touches to the state’s case.
On Sept. 13, a jury found Raymond Linkous, 35, of Wheelersburg, guilty on all 10 counts in the same case, and sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole. The first three charges merged into one, resulting in sentencing to life without the possibility of parole. In addition to the life sentence, Linkous received an additional 26 years on the other charges to be served consecutively
Kuhn said the trial will begin with the jury selection process at 9 a.m.
A third person, Thomas Henry Steinhauer, 47 of Portsmouth faces the same charges. He is set for trial in November.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org