Testimony begins in millionaire's murder trial

CENTRAL ISLIP - Today was the first full day of testimony in the trial of a millionaire gym owner accused of playing a role in three murders dating back to 1994.

Federal prosecutors say Christian Tarantino participated in an armored car robbery in Syosset that resulted in the murder of a guard, Julius Baumgardt. Today, the government called several witnesses to the stand who say they saw the robbery and heard the shot that killed Baumgardt.

Baumgardt's widow, Christine, was in court for the testimony. She says seeing the evidence photos and hearing how her husband was killed isn't easy, but she plans on being in the courtroom every day of the trial, which is expected to last six to eight weeks.

The indictment identifies the triggerman in the shooting as Louis Dorval. Prosecutors say Tarantino later killed Dorval and dumped his body to silence him. They also allege that Tarantino ordered the killing of a third man who threatened to talk to police.

If convicted, Tarantino could face life in prison.

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