Graphic images of dead people flashed across courtroom televisions as the victims' families looked on, weeping and consoling one another. Some had to leave to collect themselves.
For the first time since the nine victims were killed in 2005 and 2006, the man accused of the crimes is on trial for murder. The prosecution and defense delivered their dramatic opening statements Monday in the trial against Mark Goudeau, who is accused of being the so-called Baseline Killer.
Goudeau, 46, is also accused of dozens of other crimes, including rape and child molestation. His trial is expected to last nine months, with testimony resuming Tuesday.
Goudeau has pleaded not guilty. If convicted of murder, he could face the death penalty.
Prosecutor Suzanne Cohen told jurors that Goudeau was driven by a hunger to rape, and the victims who didn't cooperate were shot point-blank in the head.
"Beware of the predator that comes to you wrapped in sheep's clothing because he is a ravenous wolf," Cohen said. "Mark Goudeau is that ravenous wolf, and you shall know him by his deeds."
Cohen said "the only thing that matched his hunger to rape was his determination to not get caught and not be sitting in this chair."
"Those innocents did nothing wrong but cross his path while he was hunting," she said.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Randall Craig said there was a serious lack of DNA evidence in the case, and he questioned the integrity of the investigation.