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Former valedictorian accused of killing mother goes on trial in Michigan

A former high school valedictorian is on trial for murder in the beating and stabbing death of his mother in their suburban Michigan home.

Jury selection commenced Tuesday in 22-year-old Jeffrey Pyne's trial, the Detroit Free Press reported. Oakland County Circuit Judge Leo Bowman began weeding out prospective jurors who might have a bias in the case out of a pool of 200, according to the newspaper.

Pyne is charged with the first-degree murder in the death of his 51-year-old mother, Ruth Pyne, and prosecutors are expected to argue he was angry with his mom and killed her, the Detroit Free Press reported. There's no physical evidence linking Jeffrey Pyne with the murder, the defense has argued, according to the newspaper.


Judge Bowman's staff attorney Vicki King told NBC News Wednesday that once jury selection is concluded, opening statements are expected to begin Friday.

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Ruth Pyne, who reportedly had a history of mental illness, was found dead inside the the garage of the family's Highland Township, Mich., home in May 2011, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Jeffrey Pyne was indicted in October 2011 and remains in jail without bond, according to the Detroit Free Press. His family maintains that he is innocent, The Detroit News reported.

An autopsy of Ruth Pyne's body indicated she was struck repeatedly in the head with an object and was stabbed 16 times in the neck, according to the News.

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