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Target slaying trial could open by today

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

LAWRENCEVILLE — The murder trial for a woman accused of gunning down her daughter-in-law at a Snellville Target store while disguised as a man could begin today, a prosecutor said.

Jury selection was moving quicker than expected Tuesday, as attorneys conducted thorough questioning with a pool of 120 potential jurors, said Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Dan Mayfield.

Mayfield said opening statements could commence as early as this morning, the first stage in what’s expected to be a lengthy trial.

“I anticipate up to two weeks of evidence, but you never know,” Mayfield said.

Joanna Hayes, 48, is accused of gunning down Conyers resident Heather Strube, 25, in broad daylight in April 2009.

Strube had just met her estranged husband, Steven, to swap custody of their 18-month-old son. The Ga. Highway 124 retailer was a common meeting point for the Strubes, who were in the final stages of a divorce, officials said.

Moments after Steven drove away, police said, someone approached Heather, shooting the young mother once in the head before fleeing.

Original sketches released suggested that Strube’s killer was a slim man wearing a wig and fake mustache. Surveillance video later hinted the killer could have been a woman.

Hayes was arrested on murder charges six months later and has remained at the Gwinnett County Jail since.

Police cleared Steven of any crimes.