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Caitlyn Kaufman murder trial begins in Nashville

News 2 will stream trial proceedings live with intermittent interruptions for breaks. Viewer discretion is advised.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of the two men accused of killing Nashville nurse Caitlyn Kaufman in December 2020.

The 26-year-old was on her way to work as an ICU nurse at Ascension Saint Thomas West when she was shot and killed on Interstate 440. Detectives believe she pulled her SUV over to the shoulder of the busy interstate after she was shot. She was found dead inside her SUV and is believed to have died within minutes.

Her body was discovered inside her vehicle two hours later with the SUV still running two hours later by a Metro Parks employee.

A tip from a concerned citizen led to the arrest of 23-year-old Devaunte Hill nine days after Kaufman’s death. Information from that same tip led investigators to James Cowan, 30, who was also arrested and charged in her death.

Caitlyn Kaufman

Investigators said Cowan was in the vehicle with Hill the night Kaufman was killed.

A witness in a preliminary hearing claimed Hill implicated himself as the shooting and said road rage was the motive.

Cowan and Hill could face up to life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder. They have been held at the Metro jail since their arrests.

The men will be tried together with separate attorneys representing them.

James Cowan and Devaunte Hill
James Cowan and Devaunte Hill (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

It took two days to select the jury, which was finalized Tuesday afternoon. Judge Dalton is expected to make a decision on the motion to exclude a witness the defense was to use as a digital forensics expert when court resumes Wednesday morning.

The trial is expected to last about a week.

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