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Published: Friday, 9/15/2006

Jury seated for Toledoan accused of fatal beating

After three days of in-depth interviews, a jury of 12 people and three alternates was seated yesterday in the death penalty trial of a Toledo man accused in the beating death of a 75-year-old neighbor.

Opening statements are scheduled this morning in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in the aggravated murder trial of Kelvin Tyler, 49, and jurors likely will hear the testimony of several prosecution witnesses.

Tyler is charged in the death of Rubie Petterson. She was found unconscious April 20, 2005, in her ransacked apartment in Flory Gardens on Nebraska Avenue near Byrne Road, where Tyler also resided. She died nearly two weeks later.

Ms. Peterson was beaten severely in the head.

An air conditioning unit was found pushed in, leaving a hole in her apartment window, authorities said.

Judge Gary Cook earlier this week denied a motion from Tyler's attorneys to suppress statements the defendant made to police detectives.

Nearly 70 prospective jurors were quizzed individually during the selection process. Questions included their views on capital punishment and whether they could be seated on a jury for a multiweek trial.

If Tyler is convicted of death-penalty specifications, the trial would go into a second phase in which jurors would decide whether the defendant should receive the death penalty or a sentence of life in prison.

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