Trial begins in killing of southwestern Ill. mayor

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Opening statements are expected Monday in the murder trial of a man accused of gunning down the mayor of a southwestern Illinois village.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports 12 jurors and four alternates have been selected to hear the St. Clair County case involving 36-year-old Aaron Jackson.

Prosecutors say Jackson fatally shot Washington Park Mayor John Thornton Sr. three times in the chest in April of last year as the 52-year-old mayor sat in his car. Thornton later died at a hospital.

Police theorized Thornton was headed home from his Metro East Sanitary District job when Jackson, an acquaintance, flagged him down to ask for money.

Washington Park has had financial struggles, underscored by its bankruptcy filing in mid-2009 for the second time in five years.

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