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Thompson trial starts with video footage of bodies

Video footage of the battered bodies of 12-year-old Jodi Ragsdale and 15-year-old Sheila Carter was shown to jurors in the murder trial of Robert Daniel Thompson on Tuesday, the first day of the trial.

The footage was shown as a part of prosecutor Dave Moranda’s opening arguments in the case of Thompson, who is accused of bludgeoning Ragsdale and Carter to death in 1986. The victims’ bodies were discovered along the shoulder of Campodonica Road near Alves Road in rural Merced County on Dec. 13, 1986. "It shows a rage that somebody must have to kill these girls like they did,” Moranda said about the footage.

Defense attorney Randy Thomas chose to reserve opening arguments for Thompson, who has pleaded not guilty to the first degree murder charges, for a later date.

For more about this story, read Wednesday's Merced Sun-Star.