Jurors hear opening statements in man's second murder trial

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The second murder trial for a convicted killer got under way in Gaston County Tuesday.

Opening statements were given Tuesday morning in Danny Hembree’s trial. Hembree is accused of killing Randi Saldana in 2009.

Saldana's family members leaned on each other as an investigator showed pictures of her charred remains. They showed jurors her burned clothes and the wires used to tie her feet.

The woman who found Saldana's burned body on a desolate part of Apple Road in York County said she could not believe what she was seeing.

“I thought it was a mannequin,” Katherine Sturgeon said.

She said she was stunned to learn it was a woman's body.

The district attorney said Hembree killed Saldana in his Gastonia home while his mother was in the other room.

Hembree quietly took notes for most of the trial on Tuesday. He is already on death row for the murder of another woman.

There was very little cross examination Tuesday. Defense attorneys said there will be a lot of defense questions in the coming weeks.