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Jury being picked in case of slain Arkansas television anchor

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TV anchor death trial to begin
  • Man accused in rape, beating death of Anne Pressly, 26, a year ago
  • Curtis Lavelle Vance, 29, has pleaded not guilty, would face death penalty if convicted
  • Vance was linked to killing through DNA, has given conflicting statements to police
  • Parties in the case hope to finish jury selection Tuesday, county circuit court clerk's office says

(CNN) -- Jury selection was under way for a second day Tuesday in the trial of a man accused in the rape and beating death of an Arkansas television anchor a year ago.

Curtis Lavelle Vance, 29, would face the death penalty if convicted of charges including capital murder, rape, residential burglary and theft in the October 2008 death of Anne Pressly, 26. He has pleaded not guilty.

Pressly, the morning news anchor for Little Rock, Arkansas, television station and CNN affiliate KATV, was found badly beaten and unconscious in her home and died five days later.

Vance was linked to the killing through DNA, and police told CNN last year they are "110 percent" sure he killed Pressly.

Vance has given several statements to police, including one saying he was at her home and another admitting to her slaying. Defense attorney Steve Morley told CNN affiliate WREG that such evidence presents an obstacle for them to overcome, but he said he hopes an emotional closing argument will persuade jurors to spare Vance's life.

"Literally, you can affect an individual, and by affecting that individual you affect the outcome," Morley told the station.

Pressly's mother, Patti Cannady, told NBC last year her daughter fought for her life -- so much so that her left hand was broken.

"I found my daughter beyond recognition with every bone in her face broken, her nose broken, her jaw pulverized so badly that the bone had come out of it; I actually thought that her throat has possibly been cut," Cannady said. "Her entire skull had numerous fractures from which she suffered a massive stroke."

DNA evidence has also tied Vance to a rape in April 2008 in Marianna, Arkansas, about 90 miles east of Little Rock, police said in December.

Police have said they found no previous link between Vance and Pressly and do not believe her being on television played a role in the slaying.

"I think he saw her someplace, probably followed her home with the intention of robbing her," Lt. Terry Hastings, spokesman for Little Rock police, told CNN in December. "And then went from there."

Pressly's purse was taken, police have said.

Parties in the case are hoping to finish jury selection Tuesday, according to the Pulaski County Circuit Court clerk's office.