First witness in Terrence Roach murder trials takes the stand

First witness in Terrence Roach murder trials takes the stand
Terrence Roach, 24. (Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff's Office)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - There was a fast start to the murder trial of Terrence Roach on Monday.

A jury was picked and began listening to witness testimony.

Roach is accused of kidnapping and killing 19-year-old Aleah Beckerle. He was arrested days after 19-year-old Aleah Beckerle's body was discovered in an abandoned home on South Bedford Avenue.

Previous: 14 News Exclusive: Mother of Aleah Beckerle breaks silence

Jury selection started at 8:00 a.m. and ended around10:50 a.m. Monday.

The state named 32 witnesses expected to testify over the course of the trial. The list includes 21 members of the Evansville Police Department, Aleah's mother, and other family members.

EPD's Brent Melton has been the lead detective in the case. He was the first witness to take the stand shortly after 1 p.m.

Detective Melton told the jury he had been to Aleah's home on East Iowa Street a month prior to her disappearance because Roach's father had fired a gun inside the home. He said that incident made him aware of Aleah's physical and mental abilities, as well as the layout of the home.

Melton testified that EPD followed up on thousands of leads, checked more than 200 locations, and found seven bodies while searching for Aleah.

Melton said he learned about remained in the abandoned South Bedford home while conducting a jail interview. After a search warrant was obtained, what was later identified as Aleah's body was found upstairs on a mattress.

Melton told the courtroom due to the decomposing body, he wasn't able to identify it was Aleah just by looking at her.

Melton said he was at the autopsy the next day. He said Aleah was identified by an implant, the shirt she was wearing, and several other aspects.

The jury watched a video of Detective Melton's interview with Roach. In the interview, Melton asked Roach how he went into the window to take Aleah. Roach told him that Aleah's mom, Cara, used to babysit him occasionally and he last saw Cara a month before Aleah's disappearance.

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