A jury was seated Tuesday morning in the Wyoming County criminal trial of Phillip Walters, whom prosecutors allege killed his girlfriend and dumped her body in the Susquehanna River over the Falls Bridge.
A panel of nine females and six males, including three alternates, were selected to hear evidence in the trial.
Walters, 32, of Mill City, faces first-degree murder and strangulation. According to prosecutors, Walters murdered his girlfriend, Hayley Lorenzen in the bathroom of his apartment on Dec. 30, 2018. It is alleged that Walters then covered Lorenzen with grocery and garbage bags and threw her body into the Susquehanna River in Falls Township.
Proceedings began around 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning in a socially distanced courtroom at the Wyoming County Courthouse with the jury seated six feet apart.
Specially assigned Senior Judge Dudley Anderson of Lycoming County is presiding over the case after Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff recused himself in the spring.
On Tuesday, Walters sat with his attorney, Timothy Michaels, and assistant public defender, Jesse Hallinan.
Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell is the main prosecutor and gave an opening statement to the jury of the details of how the alleged murder took place and the timeline of events leading up to the trial.
Michaels in his opening statement urged the jury to decide the truth and that to prove first-degree murder, there has to be substantial evidence to 100 percent proof that the crime was committed.