The trial has begun for a 19-year-old man charged with aggravated murder in the sledgehammer death of his great-grandmother at her suburban Portland home.

Joda Cain's trial opened Tuesday as jurors heard both sides recount the events leading up to the October 2013 death of Jacqueline Bell, 71, of Cedar Mill.

Deputy District Attorney Allison Brown argued that Cain, who left Missouri to live with Bell in July 2013, was tired of living with his great-grandmother and stole from her the night she died.

Brown said Cain, his 19-year-old cousin Micus Ward, and a friend were at Bell's house that night. The friend went to sleep and woke to the sound of Bell's screams, the prosecutor said. Then he heard Cain telling Ward to "just do it."

Cain and Ward were arrested after a high-speed chase through eastern Oregon in Bell's car. Investigators found Bell's credit cards in Cain's pockets.

Court records show Bell was killed with a sledgehammer, and her body was found wrapped in sheets on her bedroom floor.

Defense attorney Bill Redden said there was no plan to kill the woman and that Ward was the one to blame for her death. He said Cain tried to stop the attack. Cain yelled at Ward, "Get off of her!" Redden said.

Ward also is charged with aggravated murder in Bell's death. He was found unfit for trial earlier this year and was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation. He was sent to the state hospital for treatment to determine if he can reach competency to stand trial.

Cain's trial continues Wednesday.


This story has been corrected to show the great-grandmother was from Cedar Mill, not Cedar Hill.


Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com