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Prescott murder trial underway

ELLSWORTH -- The trial of a Prescott woman accused of murdering her boyfriend last year got underway this week in Pierce County.

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Rose Marie Kuehni, the 45-year-old woman whom prosecutors say shot Douglas Bailey to death Nov. 22, 2015, at their Prescott home.

According to a criminal complaint, Kuehni placed Bailey’s body in a box and drove it on Thanksgiving Day to Peoria, Ill., where she met with another man who placed the box in his truck and drove it to Kentucky, where he pushed it down a remote mountainside.

She is charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of hiding a corpse.

The man accused of taking the box containing Bailey’s remains, 61-year-old Harrodsville, Ky., resident Clarence M. Hicks, is charged in Pierce County Circuit Court with hiding a corpse.

Opening statements in Kuehni’s eight-day trial were expected to begin Wednesday morning. The trial, being presided over by Buffalo-Pepin County Circuit Court Judge James Duvall, was scheduled to conclude Thursday, Aug. 18.

Kuehni’s attorney Mark Gherty has said he will present a battered woman’s defense.

According to court records, Gherty plans to call an expert who will testify on cases involving battered women. In the criminal complaint, Kuehni describes multiple episodes of abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of Bailey leading up to his death.

Through months of pretrial proceedings, prosecutors have outlined the framework of an argument that will attempt to prove premeditation on Kuehni’s part.

In a complaint filed against Hicks, prosecutors claim he and Kuehni met for two hours in an airport parking lot two days before Bailey’s death -- an alleged interaction that assistant Pierce County Attorney Rory O’Sullivan said suggests “coordination.”