NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jury selection began Tuesday for the trial of a thrice-widowed woman charged in her second husband's 2006 death in New Orleans — a case linked to her third husband's later, mysterious death in Mississippi.
Emma Raine, 52, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Ernest Smith. She has pleaded not guilty.
Her third husband, James Raine, also was implicated in Smith's death. Prosecutors called it a plot to benefit from life insurance proceeds.
James Raine was also shot to death. His body was found in his home in 2011 in Pearl River County, Mississippi. Pearl River Sheriff David Allison said Emma Raine is a suspect in that death as well.
The trigger-man in Smith's death, Alfred Everette, was convicted in 2014. Prosecutors at Everette's trial said Emma Raine's first husband died under mysterious circumstances in 1994.
With prosecutors, the defense team and Raine watching, state District Judge Tracey Flemings-Devallier began questioning potential jurors around midday.
Earlier Tuesday, defense attorney Martin Regan outlined in open court a possible plea deal that was being discussed. But after closed-door meetings in the judge's chambers, the trial proceeded without a deal.
Court documents and testimony in Everette's trial made clear that James Raine was also under suspicion in Ernest Smith's death. Prosecutors said Everette had been promised — by James and Emma Raine — $10,000 from an $800,000 life insurance benefit.