PHOENIX -- Nearly three years after the disappearance of baby Gabriel Johnson, the child's mother and father sat on opposite sides of a Maricopa County courtroom Monday.
The child's mother, 26-year-old Elizabeth Johnson, cast in the role of criminal defendant charged with kidnapping and custodial interference and the child's father, Logan McQuery, cast as the state's star prosecution witness against Johnson.
After opening statements last week, the high-profile and long-awaited trial got down to business today as prosecutors called McQuery as their first witness.
"I wanted custody of Gabriel," McQuery told jurors. "I wanted my son in my life and to take care of him."
McQuery also told jurors of his tumultuous relationship with the baby's mother, a relationship that produced the couple's beautiful blue-eyed son in May 2009, but a relationship that had hit the rocks by the end of that year.
"She pretty much said I'm never going to see Gabriel again," McQuery said.
According to law officers and prosecutors, in late 2009 Johnson fled to Texas with Gabriel and it was in the Lone Star State that Johnson sent text messages and placed calls to McQuery, telling him that she had killed the child.
According to McQuery, Johnson told him, "I suffocated him until he turned blue."
McQuery told jurors Johnson said she then placed the baby's body in a diaper bag and threw it in a Dumpster.
After being arrested in Florida, Johnson changed her story, telling investigators she gave the child to an unidentified couple in a San Antonio park.