Wlasiuk's Third Murder Trial Underway

By Lindsay Nielsen

June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 8, 2012 at 9:17 AM EDT

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The 3rd murder trial against a Chenango County man accused of killing his wife is underway.

Thursday morning, both sides made opening statements in Peter Wlasiuk's case.

He's charged with murder for the 2002 death of his wife Patricia, whose body was recovered from Guilford lake.

Family members of both Peter and Patricia were in the courtroom Thursday.

Peter seemed calmed, chatting to family members during breaks and
was still wearing a gold band on his wedding ring finger.

In opening statements to the jury, the prosecution claims Peter's motive for killing his wife Patricia was to collect $300,000 on her life insurance, and that he was involved with another woman.

But the defense told jurors Patricia's cause of death was drowning as reported in the first autopsy and that there is no evidence of a violent struggle.

So far more than seven witnesses have been called including, Patricia's mother, a woman who worked at a bar the coupled owned, and two people who were at the scene.

The woman who worked at the bar testified that Peter talked with Patricia on the phone the night she died and was angry with her, shouting obscenities and throwing things after getting off the phone with her.

She also testified that the next day after her death Peter told employees at the bar if they spoke with police they would be fired.

In April 2002, Peter and Patricia’s truck went into Guilford Lake off Route 35.

Originally Peter said Patricia was the one driving and swerved to miss a deer.

A man whose home Peter came to asking for help and other witnesses testified that’s what Peter told them.

In later testimony, he changed his account and said his wife was depressed and drove into the water on purpose.

Phil Richmond, a volunteer firefighter who knew Peter and responded to the scene told jurors he believed Peter was faking his hysterical and shook up reaction when they talked in an ambulance.

Richmond who had sold Peter cows and hay before, told jurors after Patricia's death and after the scene was cleared, Peter came to his farm asking to buy hay at around 8 am that same morning.

The trial is set to continue Friday morning,