The first day of trial for the 15 crew members accused of fleeing the sinking ship focused on whether some, including the captain, should be found guilty of murder by willful negligence.
The rest are charged with negligence.
The senior crew members denied most of the charges.
The captain, Lee Joon-seok, said possible rescue steps were carried out during the sinking and that he was only rescued after it wasn't possible to do anything else for the passengers trapped inside.
A court official quoted the captain saying that he ordered passengers to get off the ferry.
Lee requested, through his public lawyer, that his charges be reviewed.
The prosecution used video evidence and communication logs between the ferry and the vessel control tower to back up their case.
There were some emotional moments,. with the prosecutor on the verge of tears, at one point, while reading out the charges.
The victims' families were visibly shaken with some shouting out at the captain calling him a 'murderer' and a 'brute.'
And the fury spilled outside the courtroom.
"Having somebody who killed my child in front of me like that, I had to leave the court room because I was afraid I was going to throw a water bottle at him."
Court will reconvene every week.
The next session is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.