BY TARA BECKER tbecker@saukvalley.com 800-798-4085, ext. 570

Adams jury selected in Dixon

DIXON – Opening arguments begin this morning in Byron Adams' murder trial.

The 54-year-old Chicago man is being tried on three counts of first-degree murder in the death of Margaret Atherton, 35, killed in her Dixon home on Sept. 11, 2009.

Police say she had a sock in her mouth and a pillowcase over her head.

Adams was arrested 2 days later in Chicago in what police said was a stolen car.

He also is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, a felony, and criminal trespass to a vehicle.

It took a day and a half to seat the six-man, six-woman jury, which includes a a retired steelworker, a Union Pacific Railroad employee, a pilot, and a hardware store worker.

Two alternates, a man and woman, also were chosen; they will hear the case but will not deliberate unless other jurors can't complete their service. The trial could last 10 days.

Nearly 50 prospective jurors were questioned Monday and Tuesday.

Lee County Assistant State's Attorney Peter Buh is prosecuting; Adams is represented by Dixon attorney David Mandrgoc.

After the jury was selected, Lee County Associate Judge Charles Beckman denied Adams' motion to move the trial to another county.

Witnesses who may testify for the state include several Dixon police officers, a U.S. marshal, a forensic scientist, and Atherton's husband, Ryan.

Mandrgoc said at a pretrial conference last month that he has five to seven witnesses he may call.

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