A lawyer for a man accused in the stabbing death of his wife a year ago told jurors Wednesday the couple's 12-year-old daughter actually committed the crime.

Brad Reay, 46, tried to protect the girl by covering up the killing, attorney Timothy Rensch said during opening statements. The daughter, Haley, was distressed that her parents were going to divorce, he said.

"Haley killed her mother," Rensch said, apologizing to the jury by saying he knows it was reprehensible to suggest.

Rensch said his client was stunned to find Haley standing over the body of her mother.

"What have you done?" Rensch said Brad Reay asked daughter, who gave no reply.

"I don't know how it happened. Truth is stranger than fiction," Rensch added.

But prosecutor Todd Love said that Tami Reay was stabbed 24 times and her throat was slit.

"The knife went in to the hilt, through the bone into Tami," Love said, apparently trying to convince jurors the wounds could not have been made by the woman's petite young daughter.

Reay is charged with alternate counts of first-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. His wife's nude body was found in a grove of trees last winter.

Prosecutors said Reay also tried to frame the Feb. 8, 2006, murder on his wife's lover, an assistant manager at the Pierre Kmart where she worked part-time.

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