"The mother of a 12-year-old killed in his home appeared overcome with emotion today as she told prosecutors about the final day of her son's life. Tandy Cyrus took the stand today in the murder trial of her ex-boyfriend, Oral "Nick" Hillary, who is accused of strangling her son to death in 2011, months after the couple broke up. It was a rainy afternoon in October 2011 when Garrett Phillips was found strangled to death in Cyrus' apartment in upstate Potsdam, New York, a small village near the border with Canada. The popular, friendly and athletic golden-haired boy had just begun the sixth grade when his mysterious murder shocked Potsdam. From nearly Day 1, the spotlight of suspicion seemed focused on Hillary, a well-regarded local college soccer coach. Hillary was charged with second-degree murder several years later. Hillary, who has always insisted he is innocent, waived his right to a jury last week and the case is proceeding in Canton, New York, this week as a bench trial.........In the prosecution's opening statement, the state argued that the motive for the murder was what they described as Hillary's turbulent relationship with Garrett, also saying he was distraught over the end of his romance with Cyrus. Hillary's defense team countered in their opening statement that he couldn't have committed the murder - which is estimated to have occurred a few minutes after 5 p.m., according to police -- because he was at home with his daughter until just after 5 p.m., and then with another soccer coach about 20 minutes after 5 p.m. The first 911 call relating to Garrett was placed at 5:07 p.m., according to police. The defense also described Hillary's relationship with Garrett as "firm but fair" and said they felt police zeroed in on Hillary right away, without following up on any other credible leads........During cross-examination, Cyrus told Hillary's attorneys that she never saw Hillary physically hurt Garrett. She said Hillary once picked her up during a fight, but she was not hurt. Cyrus told defense attorneys the Potsdam police never suggested any other suspects to her besides Hillary."