Jury selected in Manatee man's murder trial

BRADENTON — Attorneys have selected a jury in the first-degree murder and robbery trial of a man accused of slaying a 22-year-old Sarasota woman and dumping her body in woods off a rural Manatee road.

A jury of seven women and seven men, including two alternates, will decide the fate of 34-year-old Jose Luis Marrero, who is accused of shooting Lauren Whitney Lichon in the head as the pair sat in a car off Rye Road. A mosquito control worker found Lichon's body on Feb. 5, 2009, in woods nearby, at Rye Wilderness Road.

Detectives believe Marrero shot Lichon in a drug deal gone wrong, and the shooting took place in front of a 14-year-old boy, who was also in the car. The boy is expected to testify in the trial scheduled to take all week.

On Monday, against the advice of his attorney, Marrero took the rare step of refusing to waive his right to a speedy trial forcing proceedings just four months after his arrest on murder and robbery charges. Opening statements are expected to begin this afternoon.