Mother testifies during first day of teen's accused killer's trial

State says Alexandria Chery, 16, was killed by mother's boyfriend


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Opening statements began Monday in the trial of Sanel Saint Simon, the man accused of killing his girlfriend's daughter and then dumping her body in the woods.

Alexandria Chery, 16, went missing July 28, 2014. Her body as found four days later on Aug. 1 near the Osceola-Polk County line. Saint Simon eventually became the main person of interest, in her death and was arrested on first-degree murder charges.

Prosecutors say Saint Simon stabbed and beat Chery to death in July 2014 before leaving her body in the woods.

The state is seeking the death penalty in the case, which has garnered a lot of attention. It's one of several cases that the governor has taken away from Orange County State Attorney Aramis Ayala after she opposed the death penalty as punishment. State Attorney Brad King is the leading prosecutor. Ayala has since set up a board to determine if her office will seek death in first-degree murder cases.

Prosecutors started Monday by calling on the victim's mother, Rosalie Joseph. She recounted the day her daughter went missing and how she had trouble getting in touch with Saint Simon. She also brought up markings that resembled injuries on his hand that she noticed the day of Chery's disappearance.

Both Saint Simon and the mother required Creole interpreters during the trial.

The trial is expected to last more than a week.