Somali piracy, murder trial gets underway in Va.

AP News
Posted: Jun 06, 2013 6:42 PM

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Defense attorneys for three Somalis charged with the murders of four Americans aboard their pirated yacht say there's no evidence proving their clients fired the fatal shots.

The comments were made during opening statements in federal court in Norfolk on Thursday.

The yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., and their friends, Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle, were shot to death in February 2011 after they were taken hostage at sea several hundred miles south of Oman.

The 19 people who boarded their yacht intended to ransom the Americans. That plan fell apart when the U.S. Navy began shadowing the yacht. Prosecutors say the three men were part of an aggressive faction who refused to surrender.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty.