Ill. murder suspect takes the stand in day 8 of trial

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Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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FAIRFIELD, Ill. (WFIE) - A Fairfield man took the stand in his own murder trial on Wednesday. He’s accused in the 2014 murder of 15-year-old Megan Nichols.

Brodey Murbarger was arrested in 2020. Police say Nichols was initially considered a missing person until her remains were found in a rural area in Wayne County, Illinois in 2018.

Testimony began Wednesday with forensic experts who analyzed Nichols’ remains. One expert explained how they used DNA to confirm the remains were Nichols, and another expert explained how they determined the cause of death: homicidal violence through probable asphyxial means.

The defense then called Murbarger to the stand, where he told a different story about how Nichols’ blood ended up in his trunk.

The defense first called up Jayson Murbarger, Brodey’s father, who said the trunk of the car Brodey drove at the time of Nichols’ disappearance leaked water. Brodey said a few months prior to Nichols’ disappearance, a t-shirt he was wearing got some of her blood on it during a sexual encounter. He placed the soiled shirt over the trunk’s locking mechanism as he changed into a clean shirt, and the leaking water could have carried Nichols’ blood below the lock.

Before resting their case, the prosecution also presented an FBI digital forensics expert who recovered five weeks of text conversations in early 2014 between Nichols and Murbarger. They read excerpts in court, showing moments of fights between the two as well as times they planned to run away together.

The trial moves on to closing arguments Thursday.