Jury selection began Thursday in the death penalty trial of Gerald Parker, accused of raping and bludgeoning to death five Orange County women two decades ago.
Parker, 42, a convicted rapist, is also charged with the murder of a full-term fetus. Authorities allege he attacked Dianna Green, 21, in 1979, causing the death of her fetus. Parker's arrest two years ago freed the woman's husband, Kevin Green, who had spent 17 years in jail for the crime.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco P. Briseno began the task of selecting potential jurors who will be able to serve for the length of the trial, expected to last until the end of the year.
The next phase of jury selection will begin Sept. 29, when attorneys will begin questioning potential jurors about their knowledge of the case and their feelings regarding the death penalty.
According to grand jury testimony released in 1996, Parker, who has pleaded not guilty, allegedly attacked his victims at their homes with weapons such as a mallet, a hammer and boards.
Parker, a former Marine serving at the El Toro Marine base at the time of the crimes, is also accused of murdering Sandra Kay Fry, 17, of Anaheim; Kimberly Gaye Rawlins, 21, Marolyn Kay Carleton, 31, and Debra Lynn Senior, 17, all of Costa Mesa; and Debora Kennedy, 24, of Tustin.