Jury Selection Begins for Accused Killer of Slain Raymond Man

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On Monday June 2, 2014, more than two years after Raymond, Nebraska man Tom Schlender was brutally shot and killed as he drove down a Mississippi highway, the trial will start for his accused killer, James Willie, of Sardis, Mississippi.

Schlender, a retired LES employee, husband of 50 years, father, grandfather, and Air Force veteran, was simply driving to Florida to pick up a grandchild when he was murdered.

His body was found in his truck in the early morning hours on I-55 in Panola County, Mississippi, May 8, 2012.

Willie is also charged with murder in the May 11, 2012 shooting death of Lori Anne Carswell, of Hernando, Mississippi.

Her body was found on the shoulder of Miss. 713 in Tunica County.

Prosecutors in the Schlender case had been pushing for the death penalty, but have since changed their minds and will pursue murder charges only.

However, a conviction would result in a life sentence for the accused.

1011's Owen Jensen has been following the story from the start.

He will be filing reports from Batesville, Mississippi as the trial gets going.

Prosecutors believe the trial itself will last three or four days.

The family of Tom Schlender will be at the trial, hoping to see justice served, more than two years after their loving father and grandfather was killed for his wallet.

One family member will be testifying in Panola County.