ST CHARLES, Mo. — A St Charles County jury was back in session on Saturday for the man who killed his girlfriend and her family in 2018.
One day after convicting Richard "Darren" Emery of first-degree murder, the jury moved on to the penalty phase of the trial, which includes choosing what Emery’s sentence will be.
Emery faces two options, either life in prison without probation or parole, or the death penalty.
Both the prosecution and defense brought a number of voices to the stand, including the first police officer who saw the gruesome scene inside the house that night.
"I knew this wasn't going to be anything that was just walking into and seeing the good side of humanity. I was expecting to see the bad and that's what was waiting for us on the second floor,” said Officer Fischer with the St. Charles Police Dept.
Kasten's parents told the jury how they continue to grieve the loss.
"You keep praying. You wake up from this bad dream but it's not a dream. it's for real,” said Rick Moeckel, Kasten’s father.
"To know we'll never see them again. It hurts us. It really hurts. We trusted Darren," added Debbie Lubbert, Kasten’s stepmother.
Emery and his defense team have continued to argue he didn't know why he shot the family but was sorry for doing it, while prosecutors contend he was aware.
Those who knew Emery took the time to speak highly of his character and his adoration for the family he had become a part of.
“Funny and sweet and caring and I always thought he was just a really good man. I've never thought anything different of him,” said Paula Sontheimer, Emery’s childhood best friend.
"I couldn't believe he could do something like that. That wasn't his demeanor at all. I couldn't fathom what possibly could have happened,” added Freddy White, Emery’s aunt.
The trial will resume on Monday. Prosecutors have said they are seeking the death penalty.