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Mar 27, 2012 8:38 AM by AP

Jury selection begins in rape, slaying case

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Jury selection is under way in the trial of a convicted Baton Rouge sex offender accused of raping and drowning a 29-year-old Zachary woman in April 2010.

The Advocate reports 45-year-old Franklin Meredith Jr. is charged with aggravated rape and second-degree murder in the slaying of Jennifer Gonzales, whose body was found in Monte Sano Bayou in Baton Rouge.

Police have said Gonzales, whose body was discovered April 14, 2010, by a fisherman, was raped, beaten and choked before she drowned.

Meredith was sentenced in 1993 to 10 years in prison for a rape.

One of Meredith's court-appointed attorneys, Trey Frazier, reminded potential jurors that Meredith is presumed innocent.

Twelve jurors and two alternates are expected to be seated Tuesday, followed by opening statements and witness testimony.

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