Trial begins for 2014 murder case

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Prosecutors and defense counselors delivered their opening statements to a Knox County jury yesterday in the case of a Chicago man accused of murder.

Christopher Croom faces multiple murder charges and a single count of possession of weapons by a felon for his alleged involvement in the 2014 stabbing death of 49-year-old Melvin Buckner. The 31-year-old murder suspect’s trial began yesterday.

State’s Attorney John Pepmeyer began by describing the scene — a party in the late night of Aug. 13 on West Brooks Street — that ended with Buckner being stabbed in the chest. Buckner died Aug. 17 from the wound.

Chief Public Defender Dave Hansen, who represents Croom along with attorney Chris Kanthak said “there is another side of that story” and reminded the jury his client is presumed innocent.

Judge Scott Shipplett said he expects the trial to run about five days.

Pepmeyer is assisted in prosecution by by Assistant Attorney Generals Robert Hollinshead and Jonathan McKay.

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