"The evidence in this case will show that the two of them almost pulled it off."
That's how prosecutors set the tone for the trial of Nathanial Gann and Brae Hansen, siblings who are accused of killing their stepfather, Timothy MacNeil.
MacNeil, a criminal defense attorney, was shot and killed in his Rolando home in July 2007
Prosecutors allege Gann killed MacNeil with the help of his sister, Hansen, 19. She was 18 at the time. Gann, 20, whose first trial ended in a mistrial is being retried at the same time his sister faces her first trial.
As for a motive, prosecutors said Hansen was mad at MacNeil and that she and her brother allegedly tried to make the slaying look like a phony home invasion robbery.
"Brae Hansen was mad at him, no real specific good reason. No good excuse to shoot a man in the head," Deputy D.A. George Bennett told jurors in his opening statement Monday.
Hansen confessed to planning the murder with Gann, according to police. Defense attorneys, however, maintain that her rights were violated.
Referring to Hansen’s confession to detectives, "She told about how she and her brother continued to play out the game of a home invasion and a robbery, and she told about how Nathan Gann her brother shot Tim MacNeil to death," Bennett said.
"She tried to lay the whole thing off on her brother, and tried to pretend at the last minute she didn't want it to happen. But the evidence in this case, ladies and gentleman, will show that she set it in motion and she never did anything to stop it," he said.
Even defense attorneys aren't arguing Hansen didn't plan the attack. "Brae Hansen made a horrible mistake," said defense attorney Troy Britt.
But Britt told jurors his client changed her mind and decided "this was not who she was." She called her brother to talk him out of the plan but that she was afraid of him, her attorney said in opening statements.
""Nathan Gann points the gun at her and says 'this is going to happen whether you want it to or not. Don't try to stop this'," Britt told jurors.
Gann's attorney said his client had no motive and that Gann was going to college in
, and did not feel any animosity towards his stepfather. In his first trial, jurors were stuck at seven in favor of a guilty verdict and five casting not guilty votes. The judge polled jurors and declared a mistrial.
Testimony in the first trial from a former cellmate of Gann included details of what happened when MacNeil came home unexpectedly.
The defendants are charged with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait. Gann faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
There is a blue jury for Hansen and a red jury for Gann. The judge will have jurors take turns sitting in the jury box and on one side of the courtroom throughout the trial. Both juries will report to court for testimony at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.