ELKHART CO., Ind.--- The trial for a man accused of killing his business partner started Monday.
Todd Stewart, 35, is accused of killing Mark Miller, 44, in September of 2012. The two men worked together at a tattoo shop owned by Miller.
If convicted, Stewart could get up to 65 years in prison.
Jury selection took several hours because some prospective jurors knew the victim or were too familiar with the case.
Miller, who worked as a tattoo artist, was originally reported missing by his family.
Two weeks later, his body was found inside a barrel in the Saint Joseph River in Elkhart County.
Officials say he died of a gunshot wound. Courtroom statements indicate Miller suffered a gunshot wound to the back of his head. His legs were broken and he had a bag tied around his head.
Stewart was questioned by police soon after Miller’s disappearance. Investigators found discrepancies between Stewart’s statement and evidence like cell phone records.
Another business associate told police he was at the tattoo shop the night Miller was last seen. He reportedly heard a gunshot outside the building and then saw Stewart enter the shop holding a handgun. The prosecuting attorney told the jury that Stewart intimidated the business associate who witnessed this incident and asked him to help put the barrel holding Miller’s body in the back of his truck.
The prosecution gave jurors a rundown of the witnesses who will be called to the stand during the trial. Miller's sister and ex-wife are both expected to testify.
The defense waived the right to give opening arguments. The judge said the defense attorney made the decision as a strategic move in the trial.
The trial is expected to wrap up by Thursday.