- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The trial has begun for a bowling alley owner charged with killing a man whose body was found in a steel drum on a lake about 35 years ago.

News outlets report that opening statements began Wednesday in Hamilton County Criminal Court in the case of 62-year-old William Hawk, who faces a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of 27-year-old Johnny Mack Salyer.

Hawk was arrested in September. Prosecutors say he killed Salyer, whose body was pulled from a 55-gallon steel drum floating on Chickamauga Lake on June 3, 1981. Salyer’s body was so badly decomposed that authorities could not determine how he died.

Hawk’s ex-wife Debra Brasswell testified Wednesday that she noticed the barrel on Hawk’s boat some time in 1981, but Hawk would not let her examine it.

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