A Northern California man is on trial for allegedly strangling a retiree and setting his Bay Point town house on fire as part of an elaborate plan to steal the older man's sterling silver and solid gold flutes.

Testimony began Monday in Alejandro Hernandez Rivera's murder trial with Theodore Neff's former flute teacher identifying the valuable instruments that prosecutors say were in Rivera's car when he was arrested in 2008.

Prosecutor Harold Jewett told jurors that the 24-year-old Rivera began researching the value of the golden flute in the days before he killed Neff. The flute is worth $23,000.

Jewett says the two men met through an erotic services ad Rivera placed on Craigslist.

Deputy public defender Mike Kelly did not give an opening statement.


Information from: Contra Costa Times