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SANDUSKY, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The trial is under way for a man accused of killing a Sandusky woman and her two children last fall.
Curtis Clinton is accused of strangling Heather Jackson, her 3-year-old daughter, Celina, and 18-month-old son, Wayne Jr., in their home last September. He is also charged with raping Jackson's daughter, as well as a 17-year-old Clyde girl the week before the homicides.
After jury selection Monday, testimony began Tuesday.
911 Operator: There's a what?
Dan Risner: A body...a person's body. A deceased person.
Hearing his own voice the day he called 911 from a John Street home, Risner took the stand describing the moment he and his friend, Tom Hanson, found Jackson's naked, lifeless body.
"Tom said 'Hey, Dan?' I went, and I said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'Tell me that's a mattress. It don't look right.' I went in there and I told Tom, 'No, that's a body.'"
The men say they forced their way into Jackson's house after learning no one had heard from her in a couple days. Prosecutors say authorities made the next discovery.
"The two children were thrown in that closet as if they were rag dolls," said Prosecutor Kevin Baxter.
Despite the evidence stacked against them, the defense team believes they have a case.
"You can't decide this case with sympathy. You have to be objective, and you have to wait until you hear all the evidence," said Defense attorney Robert Dixon.
The defense team made it clear they will not try to refute the hard evidence, like Clinton's white Cadillac seen on surveillance video at Jackson's house, or his history of violence - convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1999 for the strangling death of 18-year-old Misty Keckler in Fostoria. Instead, the defense team says they will work to prove he is one of many people to stop by Jackson's home the day she died.
"People had been in and out of that house all the time. Constant traffic in that house," said Dixon.
The prosecution says they hope to connect the dots between Clinton's multiple strangling accusations, and the murder of the Jackson family.
If found guilty of even one of the murders, Clinton could face the death penalty.