Husband claims Heather Mallory walked out before she went missing

Brian Cole, on trial for murder, tells his version of Vancouver native's disappearance

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photoBrian Charles Cole was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife, Heather Mallory, formerly of Vancouver.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Oregon man accused of murdering his wife claims the last time he saw her she was walking out of their Portland apartment with her purse in hand while their 3-year-old son watched from a couch.

The Oregonian reports that 38-year-old Brian Cole took the stand to testify on his own behalf after the defense opened its case in his murder trial in Portland.

Cole's testimony came Thursday after prosecutors rested their case, arguing he killed Heather Dawn Mallory, a Vancouver native, in a fight at their apartment, then dumped her body outside Estacada.

But Cole maintains he is innocent. His lawyer has argued there is no forensic evidence linking Cole to his wife's body and that investigators zeroed in on him without investigating other potential suspects and leads.