Heightened security marked the beginning of the Sacramento Superior Court trial today for a man accused of shooting an acquaintance with an AK-47 assault rifle and then chopping off his head.
Two deputies screened visitors at the door of Judge Lloyd G. Connelly's courtroom just before opening statements in the trial of defendant Arthur Charles Carnes IV.
Carnes, 40 is accused in the Nov. 18, 2007, killing of Matthew Alan Seybert, 41.
Sheriff's Lt. John Randazzo said the Carnes case has generated a few extra security concerns, "more so than the average inmate."
Jurors came into the courtroom and then went out on a morning break through a back entrance. Two deputies sat behind Carnes, who is acting as his own attorney. Most in-custody defendants only have one deputy watching over them at trial.
"We just want to make sure the trial goes according to schedule, and without interruptions," Randazzo said.
Jury selection for the Carnes trial was delayed several weeks ago when security officials screening a package of evidentiary items the defendant had ordered found a knife. It turned out that the knife was identified as a possible exhibit at trial. Asked if the security scan at the courthouse entrance figured into the added security, Randazzo said, "All of it figures into it."
At the time of his arrest in May 2009, investigators said Carnes had posted messages on what they described as an anti-government website. They said he posted under the name "nbk2000," which they translated to mean "Natural Born Killer 2000."
About three weeks after Seybert had gone missing, his body was found on rural property off Stockton Boulevard near Galt where the victim had been living and where he allowed the defendant to also reside.
Deputy District Attorney Kevin Greene said Seybert had planned to move, which also meant Carnes would have to leave.
"Arthur Carnes had nowhere to go," Greene told the jury in his opening statement today, so "Arthur Carnes decided to take matters into his own hands."
Greene said Carnes "drugged Mathew Seybert. He then tied Matthew Seybert up. He shot Matthew Seybert in the head, then chopped off his head, his left arm, his right arm, his left leg, and he dumped the body parts in a creek on the farm."
The prosecutors said investigators tracked Carnes to Canada where they found a camera that contained some gruesome photographs.
"On that camera were Arthur Carnes' handiwork," Green told jurors today. "Pictures show Matthew Seybert drugged. Picture of Matthew Seybert tied up. Picture of Matthew Seybert with a bullet hole in his head. Picture of Matthew Sybert laying on the bed. On the floor is a bucket. In that bucket is Mr. Seybert's head."
Carnes began his opening statement with a reference to how "any competent DA could indict a ham sandwich." Greene objected on grounds the statement was more like a closing argument. Connelly sustained the objection and Carnes decided to hold off on his opening remarks until the conclusion of the prosecution's case.