UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - A man charged with a double murder in Capitol Heights tried to cover up the crime by attempting to burn the victims, according to prosecutors.
Sean Ellis and Anthony McKelvin were shot and killed in a silver Lexus in Capitol Heights three years ago. Prosecutors say the man responsible for their murders, Brian Mayhew, also ordered a hit on his own uncle from jail.
Mayhew's trial is underway in Prince George's County. He faces two counts of murder and robbery among other charges.
Prosecutors say Mayhew, 22 of Fort Washington, tried to cover up the crime by dousing the bodies in bleach and gasoline. He was unable to burn the bodies however because he did not have a lighter.
"As children, we're all taught to clean up after ourselves. Brian Mayhew takes that to a whole new extreme," Prince George's County Assistant States Attorney Christine Murphy said to begin her opening statement.
Uncle's testimony key
Mayhew's uncle Nicoh was caught on surveillance cameras buying the bleach and gasoline dumped at the Capitol Heights crime scene. After telling police that Brian Mayhew had called his uncle to ask for the bleach and gas, Nicoh Mayhew agreed to testify against his nephew, including before a grand jury.
Nicoh Mayhew was found murdered in late 2012. But his grand jury testimony is expected to be played during the trial.
Although Brian Mayhew has not been charged with his uncle's murder, prosecutors are presenting evidence that he was involved.
They plan to play phone calls recorded while Brian Mayhew was being held in jail that include lines like "look out for the white girl named Kia."
Prosecutors say that comment referred to Nicoh Mayhew's car, a white Kia.
Prosecutors also have phone recordings of Brian Mayhew laughing after learning of his uncle's murder, and saying "I may be getting out of here."
That evidence helped them win a motion to present Nicoh Mayhew's grand jury testimony to the jury during the trial.
The defense is blaming Nicoh Mayhew for the original murders and hopes to poke holes in the uncle's statements to police and the grand jury.
"He lied, he lied and he lied again," defense lawyer John McKenna said in his opening statement.
"My client is sitting here because Nicoh lied."
McKenna says the murders are connected to a dispute over a bad drug deal about a month before Ellis and McKelvin were murdered.
"I'm not going to try to tell you (Brian Mayhew) is an angel," McKenna said.
But if the question is did he kill Sean Ellis or Anthony McKelvin, McKenna says "the answer is no. It's emphatically no."
In addition to Nicoh Mayhew's grand jury testimony and details from investigators about Brian Mayhew's fingerprint being found on a magazine inside the murder weapon, much of the prosecution's case will focus on phone records and phone location data.
"You're going to see more phone calls than the NSA has," McKenna said to the jury.
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