Suspect in son's mom killing tried in other death - WNEM TV 5

Suspect in son's mom killing tried in other death

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Michael Lawrence in court Michael Lawrence in court
Angelica Olivarez and son Angelica Olivarez and son
Six-year-old Layla Jones Six-year-old Layla Jones
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM/AP) -

Jury selection has started for a Michigan man accused of strangling the mother of his 3-year-old son during a year on the run from the fatal drive-by shooting of a 6-year-old girl.

Selection began Tuesday after Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell refused a defense request that 24-year-old Michael D. Lawrence stand trial separately from a co-defendant in the first killing.

Lawrence and 22-year-old Rico A. Saldana are charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 29, 2012, slaying of 6-year-old Lay'la Jones in Saginaw. The defense claims the two men have different versions of the day's events but the judge argued there is no evidence either will ever take the stand.

In July, another man, JeVonne Greer, was convicted on 18 felony counts including murder, in the shooting death of Layla. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Greer expressed condolenses to Jones' family. Prosecutors say Greer, Lawrence and two others carried out the drive-by shooting to get revenge for another person's death.

Lawrence also awaits a murder trial in the April 15 killing of 23-year-old Angelica Olivarez. Saginaw police discovered her body in her home after 3-year-old Michael Lawrence III was found wandering the streets.

An FBI-led team caught Lawrence Aug. 30 in Las Vegas.

Opening statements could begin this week.

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