RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The trial of a man accused of raping and murdering a young mother started Wednesday on Long Island.

Family and friends of 21-year-old Sarah Goode packed the courtroom in Riverhead for opening statements in the trial of 20-year old Dante Taylor.

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Prosecutors said after a party in June 2014, Taylor raped Goode then stabbed her 40 times, pulling much of the hair out of her head when she tried to get away.

But the defense said the evidence collected from his client was done so illegally and other suspects were never interviewed.

Prosecutors said Taylor killed Goode because she rejected his advances.

Goode’s body was found on June 12, 2014 in a wooded area about a half-mile away from her abandoned car. Sources said there were apparent signs of a struggle inside her car. One witness also said there appeared to be blood in the vehicle.

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Investigators said physical evidence, DNA, and cell phone records link Taylor to the crime.

Goode, a medical technician, left behind a daughter who is now 6 years old.

Goode was the youngest of nine children. Her sisters said they want justice.

“We’re not going to stop fighting for her. If we don’t nobody else will,” said one sister, Jennifer Driver. “She was a beautiful soul. She lit up every room that she walked into. She was always happy. And that monster took it away from her.”

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Taylor is charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, he faces the possibility of life without parole.