Jury selection to begin in fatal beating case

WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) -- A jury has been selected in Winchester in the murder trial of a couple accused in the fatal beating and scalding of a 10-year-old girl.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that nine women and five men were chosen Tuesday to sit on the jury.

Patrick Watkins' daughter, Michaela Watkins, was found dead at the couple's apartment in March 2007. Police say someone held the girl in scalding hot water and beat her to death with a piece of lumber.

Patrick Watkins and Joy Watkins, the girl's stepmother, have pleaded not guilty in the case.

The couple has said Michaela's death was an accident. They initially told police Michaela burned herself in hot water in the bathtub and then slipped and fell down the stairs.

A medical examiner determined that Michaela died from respiratory failure caused by blunt-force trauma to her chest.

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(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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