Two Vancouver men accused of a nine-year-old triple murder had an "arrogant, unrealistic belief in their own superiority," the prosecutor said in his opening arguments Monday.

Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns are accused of the July 1994 murder of Rafay's parents and disabled sister.

Tariq and Sultana, both 56, and Basma, 19, were bludgeoned to death in their Bellevue, Wash., home. The Rafays had moved into the home months earlier when Tariq, a structural engineer, got a new job. He had previously commuted from Vancouver.

U.S. prosecutors allege Rafay and Burns expected to gain $350,000 in insurance and family assets. In his opening arguments, assistant King County prosecutor David Heiser said the pair believed they could blame the deaths on intruders.

Arrested in Vancouver in 1995, the men were extradited to the U.S. in 2001 after Washington state prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.

Defence lawyers have said they will argue Rafay and Burns confessed to the crime because they were intimidated by police officers posing as gangsters.

Both Burns and Rafay are Canadians who lived in North Vancouver.