Trial begins for man accused of murdering Mentor bartender Annie McSween

MENTOR, Ohio - The trial began Tuesday for Joseph Thomas, 28, the man accused of murdering Mentor resident Annie McSween.

McSween was found murdered outside of a bar called Mario's Lakeway Lounge located on Andrews Road in Mentor-on-the-Lake where she worked as a bartender on Nov. 26, 2010.

Thomas has been charged with aggravated murder, rape and other various counts. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

The trial began at 9 a.m. with a jury view and wrapped up around 5 p.m.

James Yager took the stand, the mechanic at Yager Auto & Marine Center who found McSween's body.

While inspecting boats that were vandalized, Yager said he found a shoe and women's underwear near the boats. He didn't think anything of it at first because, with the bar nearby, finding articles of clothing was not unusual.

But when Yager saw a car vandalized in the parking lot, he knew something wasn't right. That's when he noticed jewelry next to the driver's side door, a shoe up inside the wheel well that matched the shoe he found by the damaged boat. Shortly after, he stumbled upon McSween's body.

"I just figured that she was dragged to the back of the lot, so I just walked straight back, like a diagonal from the car, to the back corner behind the sailboat and behind the equipment and I just looked in the woods and there she was."

Testimony resumes at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

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