Juries were chosen and trial began Wednesday for Terrence and Keith Nicks, the brothers accused of dismembering and removing bodies in an off-the-books scheme to resell burial plots at Alsip's historic Burr Oak Cemetery.
Terrence Nicks, the cemetery’s dump truck driver and alleged lookout is accused with his brother Keith, the scheme’s foreman, of scooping remains of bodies from their plots and coffins and dumping them into overgrown lots to resell burial plots from 2003 to 2009.
The scam sparked outrage and shock upon its discovery in 2009 at the primarily African American historical memorial spot.
The first witness to take the stand at the Bridgeview court house was FBI agent Doug Seccombe, who showed jurors photos depicting how investigators discovered 1500 bones and fragments across the 150 acre Alsip property.
Defense attorney Tony Peraica argued in court the evidence was "circumstantial" and everything done at the cemetery, including the occasional “double-stacking”, was legal and in some cases even asked for by families of the deceased.
Accused with the brothers in the scheme are the cemetery’s backhoe operator Maurice Dailey and manager Carolyn Towns.
Towns is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for her part as alleged “mastermind” of the crime while Dailey is awaiting trial.
The Nicks' trial is expected to last three weeks.
Attorneys were unable to comment on the case due to a judge-issued gag order.