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NEW INFO: Emerson Trial Gets Underway

After countless delays, the trial for James Emerson is underway.

He's accused of the 1999 murder of Rhonda Mertes in Wausau.

The Iowa County clerk of court says jury selection began Wednesday morning as scheduled.

It was delayed from Monday morning after the wrong message on the Marathon County juror hot-line gave potential jurors the idea they didn't have to show up.

The jury is being selected in Iowa County, in southwestern Wisconsin because of pre-trial publicity in Marathon County.

Prosecutors say the 44-year old Emerson beat the 37-year old Mertes to death.

They say he lured her from a bar to a vacant location downtown with the promise of drugs, but intended to sexually assault her.

Emerson was arrested in 2007 after improvements in DNA testing linked him to the crime scene.

The trial has also been delayed as Emerson has gone through five attorneys.

Opening statements are expected Friday.


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