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Jury selection set for Monday in Ogdensburg murder trial

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CANTON — The murder trial of three Ogdensburg men accused in the 2010 death of an 83-year-old man is set to get underway with jury selection Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Prospective jurors have been directed to report at 9:15 a.m. as a panel is chosen to hear the case against Anthony W. Lalonde, Michael S. Thorpe and Michael D. Durand.

The men were indicted in June following more than a year of investigation into the death of Ralph E. “Gene” Lawton, who died after a scuffle during what investigators described as a robbery at his Ford Street apartment in Ogdensburg on Nov. 18, 2010.

Mr. Lalonde, then 31, of 1106 Ford St., Mr. Thorpe, then 25, of 904 Elizabeth St., and Mr. Durand, then 29, of 513 Elizabeth St., were charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

The three are accused of causing severe injuries to Mr. Lawton that led to his death; an autopsy showed he received numerous blows to the chest, although it appeared he did not put up much of a struggle.

Mr. Lawton and his 64-year-old roommate, Guy C. Bartlett, were home when the trio allegedly entered the apartment, caused a scuffle that left Mr. Lawton mortally injured and then fled with more than $1,000 and prescription drugs.

In a 2010 interview, Mr. Bartlett said he and Mr. Lawton told the men to come in when they knocked on the door. At first they thought the masked men were practical jokers, Mr. Bartlett said.

But then one of the men approached Mr. Lawton and flipped him off his chair, taking money and pills from his pants pockets, Mr. Bartlett said.

Mr. Bartlett said he was thrown onto Mr. Lawton, a much smaller man, during the fracas.

By the time the attackers left, Mr. Lawton was unconscious.

He died after being taken to Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg.

According to court documents, Mr. Durand is represented by attorney Gary W. Miles, Mr. Lalonde is represented by Lloyd G. Grandy II and Mr. Thorpe is represented by William John Galvin.

Assistant District Attorney Amanda N. Nissen is scheduled to prosecute the case.

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