ALBANY — Shortly after the discovery of Schenectady resident Shelby Countermine's body buried in Albany County in May 2015, state police investigators pressed Edward Mero.
Mero was the last person seen with Countermine before she disappeared the previous December. He admitted to having a sexual relationship with her and that he last saw her at his Albany house on Dec. 3, 2014.
But did Mero kill her? Mero, an Albany Water Department worker, didn't seem to be sure.
"I don't think I killed her," Mero allegedly told investigators, according to prosecution filings in the murder case now lodged against him.
"I don't think I did anything. I don't know what else you want me to say. I don't think I did anything wrong to her, I just kicked her out."
Mero, 29, is facing a dual murder trial scheduled to begin with jury selection Wednesday in Albany County Court. Prosecutors say he killed Countermine, 23, and hid her body on Water Department land in Coeymans. A jogger found her remains in May 2015.
He is also accused in the Jan. 27, 2013, death of Megan Cunningham, his roommate at 12 Arcadia Ave. in Albany. Cunningham's death was originally ruled accidental.
Both the prosecution and defense gave glimpses of their possible strategies in court documents filed earlier in the case.
Prosecutors cited multiple statements from Mero that they say will help lead a jury to find him guilty.
The prosecution cites admissions Mero allegedly made to two jailhouse informants. It also cites a statement Mero allegedly made to a date only days before Countermine's disappearance, that he knew how to "get rid of people."
After his February 2017 arrest, Mero allegedly told an inmate: "I did the second one [murder], but not the first one."
Countermine lived in both Schenectady and Rotterdam in the months leading up to her disappearance. She previously attended school in the Schalmont Central School District, a friend has said. That friend described Countermine as a vibrant, outgoing person who loved tattoos, music and fashion.
Mero is represented by attorney Cheryl Coleman. Coleman had attempted to have the two murder cases tried separately, arguing the two cases are markedly different.
Coleman also called the prosecutors' case wholly circumstantial.
"Defendant contends that the People have taken two underwhelming cases and joined them together in an attempt to enhance their odds of getting a conviction," Coleman wrote to the court.
Coleman also unsuccessfully tried to get evidence involving Mero's phone thrown out. Mero allowed police to search his phone, but he claims he signed forms he didn't understand. "I was so nervous for being there and being questioned about a murder that I did not commit, that I don't even know," reads an affidavit submitted by Mero.
Prosecutors successfully kept the cases together as they argued that Mero's own statements intertwined the two murders.
In the May 2015 interview, Mero allegedly said he blamed himself for Countermine's disappearance, just like he blamed himself for six months after Cunningham died.