Sep 12, 2011 9:33 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Jury selection starts in capital murder trial

AMITE, La. (AP) - Attorneys say jury selection could last a week in the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing his girlfriend and her two children.
The Advocate reports state Judge Wayne Ray Chutz ordered 500 people summoned for jury duty Monday in Amite.
Tangipahoa Clerk of Court Julian Dufreche says that's about 200 more than normal.
Michael Varnado is accused of the Feb. 16, 2007, smothering death of his girlfriend, Juana Quantrell Roberts, of Hammond, setting her trailer on fire, and leaving her infant and toddler behind in the burning trailer.
The children died of smoke inhalation.
If Varnado is convicted of first-degree murder, a second trial would begin to determine whether he would receive the death penalty or life in prison.


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