Testimony began Wednesday in the murder trial of one of three men accused of beating and stabbing a homeless man to death in Blythe.
Matthew Damien Cotter, 26, of Blythe is charged with murder and assault in the Jan. 18, 2016 killing of William Barbour, whose body was found just before 7 a.m. in the parking lot of a vacant building on East Hobsonway.
Cotter and his co-defendants, Cody James Winn, 26, and Blake Austin Beach, 24, both also of Blythe, allegedly admitted to the killing to police shortly after being arrested. Winn and Beach will face separate trials, slated to take place sometime over the next couple months.
Prosecutors say Barbour suffered “23 sharp force injuries” to his body and “11 sharp force injuries and multiple blunt force injuries to the head and face,” according to a prosecutor’s trial brief, which also says his skull “was crushed inward around the eyes and nose” and that he suffered “multiple stab wounds around the left temple and eye and left chest.”
A homeless friend of Barbour’s, who found the body and notified police, told investigators that he last spoke with Barbour about 1 a.m. the day he was killed near a gas station next door to the vacant building where his body was eventually found. The friend said that after Barbour departed, he also saw “three males drinking alcohol” near the building, but could not tell who they were.
Within a day of the killing, surveillance footage from the gas station led investigators to identify and arrest the men, who prosecutors allege separately confessed to killing Barbour with a variety of knives and a billy club, according to the brief. Blood from one of the knives and the billy club, both seized from Winn, matched Barbour, the brief states.
Court documents did not mention a motive for the killing.
In addition to murder and assault, Winn faces a felony count of possession of a billy club and Beach faces a misdemeanor count of possession of a switchblade.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: