KNOXVILLE - A Knox County man is in court this week, charged with first-degree murder of his ex-wife in 2015.
Jury selection began Monday morning in the trial of 38-year-old Tyler Enix, who authorities allege killed his ex-wife, Kimberly Enix, and then fled the area with their young daughter. They ended up in Morrow County, Ohio, where a motorist heard details of an AMBER Alert about the pair, spotted them and alerted police.
Enix is charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, especially aggravated kidnapping and carjacking.
A jury of six men, six woman and two male alternates was seated by 3:25 p.m., and state prosecutors laid out their case against Enix in their opening statement.
Last week, a judge ruled prosecutors won't be able to call the young daughter of the homicide victim to the stand.
The prosecution wanted to call the child as a witness against Enix because they allege she was present when her mother, Kimberly Enix, was slain in her Fountain City home in October 2015. The child was 2-years-old at the time.
Also, the girl talked about her mother - "mommy laid down and throwed up", "mommy fell down", and "mommy died" - during a subsequent recorded interview with an interview at Childhelp, which serves victims of child abuse and neglect.
But Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword ruled Friday that while the little girl may have been referencing the killing, she also talked about other unrelated things that raised questions about whether she really understood what the interviewer was asking.
The interviewer had to lead the child in the interview, Sword noted.
"It was clear from the interview that the child was unable to relate a coherent historical recitation of what she observed," Sword wrote. "It appears that she has images of an event but is unable to comprehend the nature of those events or place these images in any rational context."
The girl's guardians objected to her being subpoenaed to testify.
"Although she made comments and phrases that would appear to relate to the alleged criminal act, there simply isn't enough context to actually understand to what the child is referring," Sword wrote.
The judge also ruled the videotaped interview was inadmissible, so the state cannot use it.
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