GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Murder or self defense?
A jury will decide how a former U.S. Navy commander, 44-year-old Alphonso Doss, ended up dead in an Orange Park hotel in February of 2014.
31-year-old Anothony Washington is the first of three people scheduled to go on trial in the death of Doss.
The other two who will stand trial: 35-year-old Ronnie Wilson and the victim's estranged wife, 47-year-old Yolinda Doss.
Washington faces first-degree murder charges and life in prison.
He looked on inside the Clay County Courthouse, as prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda detailed the strained relationship between Alphonso and Yolinda, explaining that Washington was Yolinda's lover at the time.
"They thought they had committed the perfect murder," De La Rionda said during opening statements Tuesday.
De La Rionda claims Doss was strangled inside the Astoria Hotel in Orange Park by Washington and another man as Yolinda served as a lookout.
The motive? Authorities have said Yolinda wanted to collect $600,000 in insurance money she would have gained in the event of her husband's death.
"After you've heard all the evidence, the state will have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant is guilty of murder in the first-degree, both premeditated and felony murder," said De La Rionda.
Defense Attorney Janis Warren tells another story: One of an abusive Alphonso Doss. A man, who she says was thrown out of the military, who repeatedly abused Yolinda.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are confident that you are going to find that he not only acted in self defense, but Doss' death was just a tragic accident," said Warren.
Warren said Doss would threaten his wife during phone calls, some of which she says Washington overheard. Warren claimed Washington did not realize he hurt Doss when he grabbed him by the neck and tossed him, she said, in self defense.
"All he wanted to do was to tell them you leave them alone, enough is enough," said Warren.