SAGINAW (WWJ/AP) – A jury has been seated in the trial of a suspended police officer charged in the strangulation death of a Saginaw-area woman who was eight months pregnant with his child.
Nine women and five men received their preliminary instructions from Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson on Monday and were told to come back Tuesday for opening arguments.
Kenneth Bluew is charged with first-degree murder and assault related to the death of 32-year-old Jennifer Webb’s unborn child.
Bluew was with another officer when Webb’s body was found Aug. 30, 2011 near a drainage ditch in Buena Vista Township, about 85 miles northwest of Detroit. An extension cord was around Webb’s neck and attached to the roof rack her sport utility vehicle.
A forensic pathologist testified during a preliminary exam that he believes someone killed Webb by approaching her from behind and applying a “chokehold” on the woman. He testified Webb died due to “neck compression” and not because of “ligature strangulation” by hanging herself with an extension cord, though Buena Vista police initially classified her death as a suicide.
Bluew’s attorney filed a change of venue request during a motion hearing in July. The judge said at the time he was confident a jury could be seated in Saginaw County.
Bluew is also charged with assaulting a pregnant individual intentionally causing miscarriage or stillbirth of a fetus or embryo, and two counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
If convicted as charged, he faces the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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