AUBURN | The 40-year-old Auburn man accused of murdering the mother of his child last fall waived his right to a trial by jury this morning, deciding instead to put his fate in Judge Thomas Leone's hands.

Ryan Brahney's trial convened at 1 p.m., with both the prosecution and the defense giving their opening statements.

District Attorney Jon Budelmann told the court both evidence and multiple witnesses would prove that Brahney broke into Bridget Bell's home with the intention of murdering her on Nov. 21, 2011. Budelmann said the evidence would show Brahney hated his ex-girlfriend, denying the validity of Brahney's psychiatric defense.

Simon Moody, Brahney's defense attorney, said the defense was not denying that Brahney caused Bell's death, but was contending with the prosecution's assertion of intent.

Moody said a psychiatrist's testimony would prove that Brahney was suffering from extreme emotional distress when he killed Bell. However irrational Brahney's acts seemed, Moody said, Brahney was acting under the belief that he was protecting his son.

Following opening statements, Budelmann then called five witnesses: a deputy from the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office, an acquaintance of Brahney's, Bell's ex-boyfriend, one of Bell's cousind and her cousin's girlfriend.

The trial is set to reconvene tomorrow at 9:15 a.m.

For the full story, read Tuesday's edition of The Citizen.

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