- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

EASTON, Pa. (AP) - A death penalty trial has begun for a man accused of tying up and killing another man in an eastern Pennsylvania motel and then taking a cellphone video of the bloody victim and saying, “I do what I want.”

Prosecutors in Northampton County allege that another video shows Jeffrey Knoble, 27, touching the head of Andrew “Beep” White, 32, while referencing the bullet hole that killed him in March 2015.

Authorities call the victim a “good Samaritan” who offered the Riegelsville man food and shelter in his room at the former Quality Inn in Easton because he had no place to stay. Prosecutors say they will seek capital punishment if Knoble is convicted of first-degree murder.

First Deputy District Attorney Terrence Houck told jurors in his opening statement Wednesday that Knoble “giggled and smirked” as he said “I do what I want,” which the prosecutor called “five words that show intent to kill.”

“From his mouth, from his very own mouth,” said Houck, who paced in the well of the courtroom, stood directly in front of Knoble and pointed an accusatory finger at him. Knoble, who in the past has been prone to outbursts that included mocking White’s family and swearing at Judge Emil Giordano, didn’t react.

Prosecutors allege that Knoble had called White for help because he knew police were looking for him after he stole his then-girlfriend’s rental car, which was found abandoned in Williams Township with four bullet holes in the side.

After the slaying, prosecutors allege that he sought new clothes from his mother, told her he had killed someone, showed her the video and threatened to kill police, after which she called authorities. Police arrested Knoble at his mother’s home, where they said they found the murder weapon in a false wall in the attic and also found White’s coat and phone.

Knoble’s attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the videos shouldn’t be used because prosecutors didn’t find them in an initial search of a cellphone covered by a search warrant. Defense attorney Gavin Holihan on Wednesday deferred his opening statement until later.

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