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Lafayette man set to go to trial in Iowa for alleged slaying

Jury selection began Monday in Cedar Rapids for a Lafayette man accused of a homicide in central Iowa's Fort Dodge.

Posted: Mar. 26, 2019 5:45 AM
Updated: Mar. 26, 2019 5:50 AM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Jury selection began Monday in Cedar Rapids for a Lafayette man accused of a homicide in central Iowa's Fort Dodge.

Webster County District Court records say 26-year-old Phillip Williams, of Lafayette, Indiana, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say Williams and 27-year-old Mackenzie Knigge killed 26-year-old Jessica Gomez in August 2017. Knigge's trial is scheduled to begin June 10.

His trial first was moved to Mason City because of pretrial publicity in Fort Dodge. Then it was moved to Cedar Rapids after Williams objected to the lack of black people in the Mason City jury pool, saying that just one person out of 130 potential jurors was self-identified as black. His attorney told the judge that Williams "has a legitimate interest in the representation of African-Americans on the jury panel." He is African-American.

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