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SCOTTSBURG, IND. (WDRB) -- A man on trial for murdering his ex-wife and dumping her body testified in his own defense today.
The defense presented its case, arguing that the death of Nina Keown was not a homicide. Robert Petty took the stand in his own defense. Not many emotions were shown by Petty when his attorney Brian Chastain brought him back to the nights and days before August 7, 2010.
The 33-year-old Petty is accused of murdering his wife and dumping her body back in August of 2010 after repeatedly telling police he had no connections to her disappearance.
Petty is charged with murder, removing a body from the scene of a crime, and obstruction of justice.
The prosecution argued that the events which prompted a fight after a mystery phone call led to Nina Keown's death. They say he strangled her and knew he had probably killed her when he left his home after the altercation.
He says she was mumbling and he thought she could have been alive and did not call 911 because he was "flipping out" and had no intentions of killing her. When asked by his defense attorney, he repeatedly reiterated that statement.
He admitted to police that he burned her clothes and trashed her cell phone. Petty led them to another location on Bethlehem Hill where he said he dumped her body.
The defense says Keown's body was subject to the elements and animals in the woods and there was little evidence left to suggest the strangling killed her. Medical examiner Dr. Michael Johnson says the autopsy was complicated by the condition of what was left. The body was found with several broken bones and ribs, an exposed skull and decomposed organs.
Closing arguments are expected to take place tomorrow when the case is handed to the jury for them to decide Petty's fate. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years behind bars.