OLATHE, Kan. -- The trial for a man who says he chopped up his dead wife's body and put her remains in coolers began Monday in Johnson County.
Justin Rey is charged with multiple counts of aggravated child endangerment, child misconduct, sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.
In October 2017, Rey and his 2-year-old and newborn daughters were discovered in a U-Haul storage unit in Lenexa. Also in the storage unit, the body of Rey’s wife, which had been chopped up and stored in a rolling cooler.
Rey allegedly told police his wife died during childbirth in a Kansas City, Missouri, hotel room two days prior.
On Monday, once the jury was selected and seated, the prosecution and defense laid out their cases in opening statements.
The prosecution outlined a map they said would lead the jury to find Rey was criminal in not caring for his children and possessed child porn on his phone. The defense argued that Rey was not a great parent, but his actions were not criminal.
The first day of the trial moved quickly. Six witnesses testified in total, each one contributing different parts of a bizarre story.
The day started with testimony from a housekeeper and manager of the Woodspring Hotel near the stadiums.
Those witnesses told the court they saw Rey leaving the hotel, dressed up as a woman, wearing a rain coat and wig. He was allegedly seen dragging a cooler with the body of his wife chopped up inside. Witnesses said he left bloody sheets behind in his room.
From there, testimony tracked Rey and his family to his U-Haul storage locker in Lenexa.
The manager of the storage facility testified that an alarm went off overnight because Rey and his two children were spending the night there, which isn't allowed. It was winter and the storage until was near 45 degrees, the manager said, a dangerous environment for a newborn baby and a 2-year-old.
In the morning, the manager confronted Rey about sleeping there. The confrontation was caught on video, and Rey can be heard saying that his wife died.
While there was a lot of testimony about Jessica Rey's body, Justin Rey is not charged in her death or dismemberment in Kansas. Jessica Rey is believed to have died in the Missouri hotel room. For allegedly chopping up his wife, Justin Rey is facing an abandonment of a corpse charge in Jackson County.
The Johnson County prosecutor is making a case that Rey was not properly taking care of his children and put them in danger by doing things like sleeping in a storage facility.
During the investigation, in a effort to prove that he didn't kill his wife, Rey allegedly gave his phone to the police so they could check it out.
Police might have not found evidence of murder, but prosecutors said they found pictures of child porn. That testimony is expected to be heard Tuesday.