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Jury selection slow in Buford slaying

LAWRENCEVILLE - Prosecutors and defense lawyers worked beyond the 9 p.m. hour Wednesday in trying to whittle a pool of jurors to 12 plus alternates.

It marked the continuation of an atypically slow process in the murder trial of two Buford teens, one prosecutor said.

Jury selection began Monday for the upcoming trial of Brenda and Catherine O'Connell, both 17, who are accused of killing their adoptive mother, Muriel O'Connell, 57, two years ago. The selection process is expected to last at least the rest of this week.

"Jury selection is going very slowly," said Dan Mayfield, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney. "We will not have a jury by Friday."

Muriel O'Connell adopted both girls from Guatemala when they were in their early teens. Police found her dead Aug. 6, 2006, in her Buford home after the girls ran to a neighbor's house to report there had been a fight and their mother was dead.

Both girls were 15 years old at the time. They will be tried as adults and face life in prison if convicted.

Mayfield said opening statements should commence Monday or Tuesday.