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Jury selection begins in 2004 murder trial

LAWRENCEVILLE - Jury selection began Monday in the the trial of a Buford man accused of gunning down his girlfriend five years ago.

Larry Ray Bowling, 35, was initially charged with aggravated battery when, on April 24, 2004, he allegedly shot 20-year-old Melody Harris in the head while the couple were traveling in a van on Bona Road.

The vehicle crashed into a residence at about 2:45 a.m., authorities said, injuring Bowling. According to reports, when police arrived, Bowling admitted to shooting Harris but said it was accidental.

Investigators weren't buying it.

"Investigators have information that Bowling and the victim had been involved in a domestic altercation earlier in the evening," a Gwinnett police spokesman said then. "It appears that the shooting is probably an outgrowth of that domestic."

Almost two weeks after the shooting, charges were upgraded to murder after Harris died of her injuries.

On Oct. 4, 2006, court records show that Bowling filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, claiming his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated. The trial court - and later the Supreme Court - denied the motion. Bowling was granted a bond reduction, however, and was released from custody on Oct. 26. He remained free on house arrest until Aug. 7, 2008, when he was arrested for battery.

Court is expected to resume today in the courtroom of Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Michael Clark. Assistant District Attorney Keith Miles is prosecuting.