Rick Forsberg, 63, is accused of killing his wife of nearly 40 years. Marcia Forsberg, 60, was a retired writer and a breast cancer survivor. Prosecutors say Rick Forsberg decided he no longer wanted to be married.
"He acted in the most gruesome and inhumane manner," said prosecutor Ebrahim Baytieh.
Prosecutors allege that on Feb. 9, 2010, a verbal fight in the couple's Rancho Santa Margarita home ended with Forsberg striking her over the head repeatedly with a statue as she lay in bed. He then allegedly bought a saw and dismembered her body over the next few days.
Jurors watched video of Forsberg explaining to investigators how he decapitated Marcia, cutting her up with a bone saw. Investigators asked how many cuts he made into his wife's body.
Surveillance video shows Forsberg buying two freezers. Prosecutors allege he rented an RV to transport her to a campground in the Lake Piru area of Ventura County, where he burned her remains. Marcia Forsberg's remains have never been found.
Prosecutors say Forsberg continued working as a Coast Community College administrator, started gambling and visiting massage parlors. He repeatedly told concerned neighbors and friends they were having marital problems and that Marcia would hopefully return at a later time. After six months, a friend reported her missing.
Forsberg first told investigators he didn't hurt his wife. A day after that interview, he was seen checking into a Palm Springs casino where he overdosed on pills.
"I had always thought that I would rather kill myself than be caught," said Forsberg says on the sheriff's department investigation video.
"There's no motive. No pre-planning," said defense attorney, Calvin Schneider.
Forsberg's attorney says the couple had no history of domestic violence, but a culmination of marital and health problems built up over time, leading to the violent act. Schneider says Forsberg accepts responsibility for manslaughter, but not murder.
"When there's a provocation or argument in the heat of passion, a killing is manslaughter, not murder," said Schneider.
Testimony is scheduled to continue on Thursday.