A Franklin County jury has been chosen to render a verdict in the trial of a Pacific man accused of murdering a woman more than two years ago.
Opening arguments are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday in the case of Vernell J. Loggins Jr., 39.
It will be the first time in more than 18 years that a jury will decide a murder case in Franklin County.
Loggins is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Stephanie M. Fields, Pacific, whose body was discovered Nov. 3, 2009.
About 120 citizens were called in as possible jurors. Jury selection started Wednesday and the final panel was selected Thursday.
After reviewing evidence and testimony, the jury will first render a guilty or innocent verdict. If the defendant is found guilty of first-degree murder, the panel will then decide if he should receive the death penalty.
The St. Louis Area Major Case Squad was called in the day the body was found and by that evening members of the sheriff’s department’s Emergency Response Team served a search warrant at an apartment and took Loggins into custody without incident.
Authorities believe the murder occurred Sunday, Nov. 1, or Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.
Loggins has been held in the county jail on a $1 million cash-only bond since his arrest.