Trial begins in 2007 murder case

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CHICAGO --  It has been a long road to justice for the family of Nailah Franklin.

It was September 2007 when police found the 28-year-old pharmaceutical representative's badly decomposed body in a wooded area behind a vacant Calumet City business.

In opening statements, prosecutors laid out their case against Reginald Potts, a former real estate developer last seen with Franklin at her University Village condo the afternoon of her disappearance -- a man she dated off and on for more than a year.

The state says Franklin was scared of Potts, after arguments over him seeing other women and his past criminal history. They say franklin played a voicemail to a friend where he told her, "I will erase you."

The prosecution called cell phone records a trail of breadcrumbs, and an "albatross around Potts' neck," showing both his and Franklin's cell phones pinging together off towers near her apartment building the day of her disappearance to the area in Calumet City where her body was found -- and in Hammond where police found Franklin's abandoned car.

The state also revealed Potts' brother-in-law owns the vacant business in front of that wooded area, and that he had called him twice that day.

Prosecutors say they also will call an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend to the stand, who say Potts beat and choked them during arguments.

The defense calls the prosecution's case one with tunnel vision having only one target, riddled with doubt and lacking forensic evidence.

Defense attorneys say there were no witnesses to Franklin's murder, no weapon found, and none of Potts' DNA in her car or at the location where her body was found. They say there is no copy of the threatening "I will erase you" voicemail; the prosecution believes Potts erased it.

While the prosecution pins both Franklin and Potts together via cell phone records the afternoon and evening of Franklin's disappearance, the defense says they have proof Franklin met someone for dinner at an Outback Steakhouse that night near where her body was found.

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