TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Denise Cogman was devoted to her family and her church so when she didn't show up for Easter Sunday services, her son, Willie Pittman knew something was wrong.
When Willie and his uncle went to her home, they broke through a locked bedroom door and found her lifeless body, riddled with stab wounds.
The man accused of killing her is her live-in boyfriend, James Ware, whose trial began this week.
In court, Cogman's son testified, saying his mother was supposed to meet him at church.
"She told me she would meet me there," said Pittman. "That’s when they found my mother on the ground and I immediately called 911."
Prosecutor Ron Gale says Cogman had over 100 stab wounds and other injuries.
"James Ware had already stabbed her so many times that the handle of the knife had become slippery and slick in this hand from all the blood," said Gale.
The prosecution says Cogman pleaded for her life.
"She's telling him 'James, don't do this. I love you. I have children. Don't do this,'" explained Gale.
Gale says before the murder, Cogman was feeling the financial strain of a single income and wanted help paying the bills. Ware was a Coast Guard veteran and Cogman pushed him to get Social Security benefits from the VA.
When he was denied the benefits, Gale says the two argued and Ware told detectives he lost it.
However, Ware's public defender Jennifer Spradley says this is a classic case of self-defense. She says Cogman went after Ware with a knife.
"What you are going to hear is testimony of a struggle, based on the injuries, based on the scene, based on the medical examiner's testimony," said attorney Spradley.
Ware faces a first-degree murder charge and, if convicted, faces life in prison.