RIVERHEAD - Opening statements began today in the trial of a man accused in a gruesome murder.

Evans Ganthier is charged with stabbing 24-year-old Rebecca Koster to death in 2009. Prosecutors say he then went to great lengths to strip her of her identity and dispose of her body. They say he cut off her fingertips, toes, the tips of her nose and ears and removed her butterfly tattoo.

Authorities say Koster was then set on fire.

Prosecutors say Ganthier has admitted many times to doing everything but killing her. Ganthier claims Koster tripped and fell on a dumbbell in his garage. He says he panicked in the wake of her death.