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PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Monson murder trial begins

BRADENTON — The first-degree murder trial of a Bradenton woman began with jury selection Monday in the killing of her longtime girlfriend more than a year ago.

Cynthia Monson, 51, is accused of shooting her ex-girlfriend Patricia Thomas in January 2009 during a domestic dispute. Monson told detectives she and Thomas had been in an “intimate relationship” for more than 12 years, but had broken up just prior to the shooting, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Assistant State Attorney Art Brown questioned dozens of potential jurors Monday as jury selection began at the Manatee County Judicial Center.

Brown focused on explaining and asking potential jurors about Florida’s premeditated murder laws, as he is expected to present evidence to jurors that Monson bought the gun she used to shoot Thomas four days prior to the killing.

At the time of her arrest, Monson told detectives she and Thomas had been arguing about their past relationship and custody of a child they adopted together.

Monson told detectives that she bought a gun on Jan. 13 after several arguments with Thomas in the weeks prior to the shooting. Four days later Thomas arrived at Monson’s home, in the 6400 block of Second Avenue Northeast, and they argued.

Thomas claimed to have a gun in her vehicle and Monson “determined at that time that it was her or the victim,” sheriff’s reports state. Prosecutors say Monson then opened fire on her ex-girlfriend with the revolver she had obtained days prior. Sheriff’s report say she shot Thomas five times, including in the back of the head.

Monson sat at a table with her attorneys, Derek Byrd and Adam Tebrugge, Monday, as Brown questioned jurors. Attorneys for both sides are expected to give opening statements sometime this afternoon. The trial could take until Friday to complete, according to Circuit Judge Diana Moreland.

The case has garnered national media attention as proceedings are being recorded by the television show In Session, on TruTV, formally known as CourtTV, to be aired at an unspecified later date.

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