Elizabethtown, KY – A man charged with the murder of Richie Phillips of Rineyville is on trial in Elizabethtown. Phillips' body was found in a suitcase floating on a lake.
22 year old Josh Cottrell is charged with the murder. Phillips disappeared June 17th, 2003. His body was found eight days later in a suitcase in Rough River Lake.
Prosecutor Susan Streible said in court that Cottrell's own words indicated a dislike of homosexuals. Phillips was openly gay.
Defense attorney Scott Dradenstadt said Phillips attempted to force himself on Cottell at an Elizabethtown motel room where Cottrell was staying. The attorney said Phillips entered the room uninvited after giving Cottrell a ride.
The attorney called Phillips a sexual predator. He said Cottrell hit Phillips as he continued his sexual advance.
Dradenstadt said that state law allows someone to use deadly force in defense of being raped or sodomized.
Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty if Cottrell is convicted.