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Prosecutor: Victim stabbed 22 times
Trial begins in '06 slaying of Jenny Neville

LAWRENCEVILLE - Jenny Neville never saw her retirement dreams come to fruition.

The 64-year-old former bank auditor had positioned herself to enjoy her golden years in September 2006, when someone entered her Duluth-area home and stabbed her 22 times. The blade plunged deep into her thighs, back, abdomen and breasts, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

On trial in the killing is Alvenio "Johnny" Culpepper, an admitted former crack addict who lived below Neville in her Davenport Road duplex.

Opening statements in Culpepper's murder trial came late Wednesday, after a three-day jury selection process riddled with complications. He's charged with murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a knife while committing a felony.

Rich Vandever, Assistant District Attorney, told jurors Culpepper, 36, left behind a note - along with his teenage son - and skipped the state after he attacked and killed Neville. A manager at the sandwich shop where Culpepper worked came to check on him the next day, found his son alone and alerted police.

In the note, Culpepper admitted the drugs warped his mind and that he attacked his elderly neighbor for drug money, authorities have said.

Police lifted two fingerprints from the note matching Culpepper's and found a bloodied shirt and socks in his home, Vandever said. He had told his son he was going to get a pizza, then bolted in Neville's Toyota Corolla to Easton, Pa., where his brother lived, Vandever said. He was arrested there days later.

Richard Stepp, Culpepper's defense attorney, said in the weeks following Neville's death, police received information that three other people were involved in the killing. Police never acted, he said.

"There was virtually no follow-up investigation whatsoever on anyone but my client," Stepp said. "Case was closed."

Neville lived alone, having recently retired from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. Police found a knife believed to be the murder weapon beneath her doormat.