DENVER -- The trial is underway for the handyman accused of causing a Denver apartment building to explode. The blast left nine people injured on Aug. 14, 2018.
Todd Perkins is facing a long list of charges, including attempted first-degree murder.
During opening arguments on Wednesday morning, prosecutors said Perkins unhooked the gas line at the apartments and deliberately caused the blast. But defense lawyers say there is no forensic evidence that links their client to this case.
“What Todd Perkins did inside of 368 Santa Fe Drive - made it blow up," prosecutors said. “He set this train in motion, risking the lives of everyone in that building, around that building, in front of, behind, everywhere."
Prosecutors said more people could have been seriously injured.
Defense attorneys said there is no credible evidence that connects Perkins to the crime.
“Mr. Perkins immediately becomes suspect number one without any forensic evidence, without any video evidence and without any eyewitnesses,” Perkins' defense attorney said.
Former tenant Meghan Meehan was pinned under her refrigerator after the blast. A doctor testified on Wednesday her spine was fractured. Meehan testified in court that she thought she was going to die that day.
Six months after the blast, investigators arrested Perkins. Investigators said his clothing smelled of gasoline and they determined the explosion was intentionally caused.
In the courtroom, prosecutors painted a picture of motive. They say a month before the explosion, the owner of the apartments fired Perkins for his “erratic behavior” against tenants.
“Including getting up on the roof and looking through skylights at them at various times of the day in various states of dress and undress,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors told the jury that in the day leading up to the explosion, Perkins threatened the owner.
“Mr. Perkins made his final and credible threat; 'you’ve been screwing with me so long. Now, I’m going to get even with you'," prosecutors said.
Meanwhile, the defense team told the jury the apartment tenants tried to blame this on Perkins – only because he acted strange at times.
“Mr. Perkins is the scapegoat. He’s the odd, surly, anti-social handyman who the owner of the building let stay in the back of the property,” defense lawyers said. “At the end of this trial, you will see the only verdict to return is not guilty to all charges.”
Prosecutors told the jury that investigators will testify to discovering Perkins' cellphone under a gas can at the scene.
Perkins was also critically injured in the explosion.