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Jury Selection Begins in Fayetteville Teen's Murder Trial

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RALEIGH — Jury selection is under way in the case of Shannon Tyson, a young woman prosecutors say was instrumental in killing classmateChris Egglestonbehind a Fayetteville high school two years ago.

Tyson was in the courtroom Tuesday morning, charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. Classmate Matthew Myers has already pleaded guilty to the crime, and is serving 25 to 31 years.

"Everything that happened that day, she planned out," Myers said in aWRAL interview. He said Tyson should be convicted of the kidnapping and murder.

Tyson's attorney, Coy Brewer, said Myers' statements in the media may influence jurors, and has "the potential for an unacceptable presence to this defendant."

But the judge denied the request to move the trial. He also ruled on other motions before jury selection began late Tuesday afternoon.

Some of Tyson's classmates were also in the courtroom Tuesday -- the students are potential witnesses. Tyson's attorney is concerned their testimony may not be their own. The judge agreed to sequester the students during the trial, and ruled to only allow certain statements because of hearsay.

"Many of their statements are contradictory," Brewer said. "Many times they're saying what other fellow students said to them, sometimes what other fellow students said other students said."

Tyson is accused of being the head of a group known as "the Kindred." Police say she ordered Eggleston's murder after he fell out of favor with the group.

"At one point Chris Eggleston was embraced as a member of the group," said prosecutor Cal Colyer, "but fell out of favor when it was suspected that Mr. Eggleston was either sharing group information with the administration, telling on them, or sharing the information with other students."

The 16-year-old was found strangled behind Westover High School in June 1997.

If convicted, Tyson faces life in prison. Because of her age at the time of her arrest, she is not eligible for the death penalty.

Jury selection is expected to last around two to three days.

Attorneys forthe Eggleston familyhave asked them not to talk to the media. They could say only that they are very relieved the trial is under way.