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Trial starts in death of 80-year-old

A jury will soon decide whether a career burglar murdered an elderly Spokane Valley man in 2008.

David K. Brewczynski, 44, is accused of killing 80-year-old Kenneth Cross in a botched burglary at Cross’ Boone Avenue home on Sept. 20, 2008.

A week after the murder, police found Cross’ identification and other personal items in a storage unit Brewczynski rented in southeast Spokane County. Forensic experts say a bloody shoe print in Cross’ house could match a shoe found in Brewczynski’s home, Deputy Prosecutor Steve Garvin said in his opening statement Wednesday.

Garvin said evidence shows Brewczynski is the killer.

But public defender Derek Reid pointed to conflicting statements made by Cross’ housekeeper, Teresa M. Nelson, in an effort to persuade jurors “the government hasn’t done their job.”

Investigators who interviewed Nelson the day of the murder “described her as nervous, fidgety,” Reid said.

“At one point, without an explanation, she says ‘I didn’t kill him. I didn’t have anything to do with it,’ ” Reid said.

Nelson also initially told investigators she knew Brewczynski and that “he did it,” Reid said, but she couldn’t identify him in a lineup.

Cross already was suspicious of Nelson, Reid said, because she had stolen a ring from his 82-year-old girlfriend. Nelson was convicted of the crime in February 2009, but she denied knowing Brewczynski and said she had nothing to do with Cross’ death.

Reid also focused on tensions between Cross and his stepson, Doug Livingstone. The two argued frequently, and Cross had an appointment to draft a will two days after he was killed, Reid said.

Brewczynski is charged with first-degree murder, theft of a firearm and first-degree burglary.

Cross’ girlfriend was the first witness. She was to meet Cross the afternoon of the murder and became concerned when he didn’t show up.

The trial is scheduled to last eight days. Judge Annette Plese is presiding.