A man charged with killing another man and stuffing his body in a suitcase was defending himself from an unwanted sexual advance, his attorney said Wednesday in opening arguments of the trial. Prosecutors, however, said 22-year-old Josh Cottrell murdered Richie Phillips of Rineyville, Ky., because Phillips was openly gay. Prosecutor Susan Streible said Cottrell's own words indicated a dislike of gay people. Phillips disappeared June 17, 2003. His body was found a few days later, June 25, in a suitcase in Rough River Lake.
Defense attorney Scott Dradenstadt said Phillips attempted to force himself on Cottrell at an Elizabethtown motel room where Cottrell was staying. Phillips had given Cottrell a ride and entered his room uninvited, Dradenstadt said. State law allows someone to use deadly force to defend himself from being raped or sodomized, Dradenstadt said.