Trial for VanCallis begins in Millsap murder

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 18:30:39-05

The first day of the James VanCallis trial has wrapped up.

VanCallis is accused of murdering 14-year-old April Millsap back in July of 2014. He's charged with first degree murder, kidnapping and assault with intent to commit sexual penetration.

The day she was killed, April Millsap was out walking her dog, Penny, on the Macomb Orchard trail in Armada.

During opening statements, prosecutors said Millsap died of blunt head trauma and asphyxia due to neck compression.

April Millsap's mom, Jennifer, described her daughter as quiet and independent. After April didn't come home that day, Millsap's mom said she went out to the trail to look for her and was later told that her daughter's body had been found.

The defense attorney told jurors there's no DNA linking VanCallis to this murder.

Azhar Sheik said "All I'm asking you to do is to keep your mind open. If you just listen, I think we'll be okay."

The prosecution talked about what the live-in girlfriend of VanCallis claimed she saw that night.

"She said he (VanCallis) was cleaning the bottom of his shoes with hand sanitizer."

Prosecutors told the jury that April was "stomped to death".

Testimony continues on Thursday morning at 10:30.

Investigators are expected to take the stand, as well as the man who found April's body.

The trial is expected to last a few weeks. Prosecutors say they have 34 witnesses.