MARION COUNTY, Fla. - The trial for the two siblings charged in connection to the slaying of a Marion County teen continued on Thursday, with testimony from the detectives who worked on the case.
Kyle Hooper, 17, and his sister, Amber Wright, 16, are being tried together in the same courtroom, but with two separate juries. They are both accused of taking part in the murder of Wright's ex-boyfriend, 15-year-old Seath Jackson, who was beaten and shot to death in 2011.
Detectives explained to the jury how the investigation evolved with the five other co-defendants on Thursday. Detectives introduced the series of text messages between Jackson and Wright. Prosecutors said the text messages will show Wright lured Jackson to a Summerfield home where Hooper and two other men were waiting to ambush him. But the jury hasn't read them yet.
Authorities believe Hooper hated Jackson and took part in beating him, then later mutilating and disposing of his body. Arrest reports say Jackson's body was burned, and his remains were placed into paint cans and tossed into a limestone pit.
Investigators think another acquaintance, Michael Bargo, who supposedly was dating Wright, was the ringleader who shot Jackson. He's still awaiting trial.
During cross-examination, Wright and Hooper's attorney tried to highlight some of the evidence found that implicated the other teens involved, while trying to distance their clients from Jackson's death. Although prosecutors say Hooper took part in the murder, his attorney suggests the two other suspects committed the crime. Crime scene technicians did acknowledge they found nothing that linked Hooper to the scene.
As evidence was brought out by crime scene technicians, Jackson's mom ran out of courtroom in tears. Two 5-gallon buckets and lids found in limerock pit that had contained Jackson's charred remains were shown to the court. Two others were held underwater with cinder blocks and cables. The technician later sifted contents and separated possible tissue and bone, finding a skull, a tooth and other bones.
A Marion County judge sentenced one of the other five co-defendants in Seath's murder, 21-year-old Justin Soto, last week after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Still facing first-degree murder charges in addition to Hooper and Wright is 20-year-old Bargo. The fifth suspect, 19-year-old Charlie Kay Ely, received a life sentence last fall.
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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