Trial begins for man charged with Brianna Armstrong’s murder

Posted at 9:35 PM, May 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 09:12:37-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The murder trial for Justin Cornell began Monday morning at the Virginia Beach courthouse.

Cornell is charged with second degree murder after evidence linked Cornell to the disappearance, decapitation and dismemberment of 43-year-old Brianna Armstrong.

Jury selection and opening statements were completed Monday morning before the Court broke for lunch.

Tuesday, detectives and medical professionals testified.

A forensics technician with the Chesapeake Police department says she found a receipt for Justin Cornell near where Brianna's body parts were found.

She also said she discovered pieces of latex gloves, generic brand garbage bags, and underwear.

Another detective took the stand, and he told the jury he searched Cornell's house. He said he found a box of latex gloves, the same generic brand of garbage bags, and the same brand of underwear.

On Wednesday, a forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Brianna's body testified. He told the jury several disturbing details, including that some of her body parts were never found.

He also said he wasn't able to figure out how she died, but he did say she was decapitated and dismembered after she was already dead.

Justin Keith Cornell: Murder

Justin Keith Cornell

Armstrong went missing on May 7, 2015. Friends of Armstrong's launched their own search efforts after she never showed up to work.

Armstrong worked at Knuckles and Knots in Virginia Beach off of Newtown Road as a massage therapist. Her car was later found in the parking lot of the business with the keys still in the ignition, along with her purse and shoes inside of it.

On May 31, 2015 a man on a bicycle discovered Armstrong’s body dismembered in several trash bags near the Great Dismal Swamp. The same trash bags were found in Cornell’s home.

Brianna Armstrong’s husband told NewsChannel 3 that she and Justin Cornell were dating, but police have neglected to release complete details as they tell us the investigation is ongoing.

A Facebook page called ‘Justice for Brianna’ has organized Armstrong’s friends and family as they plan to gather Monday for the trial.


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