A nine-year-old cold case murder in Wausau finally goes to trial today. Jury selection begins in Iowa County this morning in the trial of James Emerson – the Wausau man charged with killing Rhonda Mertes outside a bar in December 1999.
Emerson is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for beating and strangling Mertes to death. Prosecutors believe Emerson killed Mertes because she refused to have sex with him. They will build their case on the fact that Emerson's DNA was found on Mertes' body.
Emerson has maintained his innocence since police arrested him in May 2007. Opening statements will likely start tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on how long jury selection takes.