MONROE (WWJ/AP) – A man faces trial this week in the death of a young woman whose body was found months after she disappeared from a massive Halloween party in 2014 in Monroe County.
Authorities say 28-year-old Daniel Clay confessed to a role in Chelsea Bruck’s death, but claims she died accidentally during rough sex. He is charged with open murder.
Jury selection is underway Monday, with opening statements expected Tuesday in Monroe County Circuit Court.
University of Detroit Mercy law professor Larry Dubin says Clay’s team will likely be looking to select young men for the jury.
“When you’re probably looking for as a defense lawyer would be a strong juror who, under the worst of circumstances, can perhaps hold out on a guilty verdict,” Dubin told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “And that certainly might be a man, a male who is not married and possibly more open to the concept of reasonable doubt.”
Bruck was last seen alive at a huge party at a rural property on Post Road in Frenchtown Township, early in the morning of Oct. 26, 2014. The 22-year-old’s Poison Ivy character Halloween Costume was found about six months later at an industrial site. Her remains were discovered a few weeks later — on April 24, 2015 — in a wooded lot on Briar Hill Road in Ash Township, about 12 miles away from her last known whereabouts.
Clay was arrested in May in the theft of tattoo equipment; and, in July, his girlfriend allegedly told police he’d called her from jail and confessed to the killing, claiming he’d accidentally choked her too hard during rough, but consensual sexual activity in his car.
In contrast to Clay’s story, however, the Wayne County Medical Examiner found that Bruck died from blunt force trauma to the head.
During police questioning, Clay reportedly admitted to having a hand in Bruck’s death and police said DNA taken from him while he was in jail matched DNA found on Bruck’s costume.
What will be shown during the trial remains in question. The chief assistant prosecutor argued that the judge deny a motion from Clay’s defense attorneys who asked to allow only a limited number of graphic photos, and only in black and white. He says the images are evidence to how and where the suspect allegedly concealed the body.
The attorneys will still have the ability to object any photos from being entered into evidence.
Clay remains held without bond. The trial is expected to last into next week.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.