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Domestic killings cases headed to trial

LAWRENCEVILLE -- John Williams is no stranger to violent tragedy.

Since 1997, Williams has been shot three times in an attempted carjacking in Alabama, bumrushed by home-invaders in Gwinnett, and tossed three stories to a concrete floor by robbers at an Atlanta MARTA station, he said.

Six surgeries and a metal plate in his face later, Williams is bracing for a new kind of shock.

The Stone Mountain man Williams entrusted with his sister's hand in marriage is set to face trial this week for allegedly killing her.

According to police, William's sister, Jennifer Smith, 42, was fatally shot on July 9, 2006 by her husband, Robert Smith, in the Stone Mountain mobile home the couple shared.

Jury selection in Robert Smith's murder trial is slated to begin Monday, with Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers presiding. The 54-year-old faces counts of murder, felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Williams said family members are planning to attend the trial en masse from Brunswick and from as far as Ireland.

Police found Jennifer Smith's body in a back bedroom of their single-wide mobile home, dead of gunshot wounds to her neck and chest. A detective testified in an earlier hearing that Robert Smith admitted to the killing before invoking his Miranda rights.

Police recovered a .45 caliber Ruger handgun from the home. Williams said the suspect was a hard-drinker who collected guns.

Jennifer Smith had planned to break free of her husband and uproot to Brunswick. Her brother believes news of her plans could have set Robert Smith off.

Williams said the family wasn't privy to any serious problems between the pair during their four-year marriage.

"She was a wonderful person that everyone loved," Williams said.

Smith isn't the only defendant set to face charges he killed his spouse this week.

Also on the docket is the murder trial of Dacula resident Laurie Alexander.

Alexander is accused of fatally stabbing her husband, Ronald Alexander, 44, in the kitchen of their The Terraces Way home two years ago. She initially told police she'd found her husband dead the morning of Dec. 8 after they'd argued the previous night, police said.

Police initially labeled the case a suspicious death but arrested Alexander on murder charges a few days later.

Alexander faces counts of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possessing a knife. Judge Timothy Hamil will preside.