PALESTINE — The trial of a 57-year-old Frankston woman accused of killing her elderly husband almost two years ago is set to take place next week at the Anderson County Courthouse.

Jury selection in the murder trial of Wanda Roper Blackwelder, 57, of Frankston is scheduled to be held Tuesday, Feb. 21, with testimony likely to begin later that day or the following day.

369th State District Judge Bascom W. Bentley III will preside over the proceedings.

Blackwelder was arrested on May 18, 2004 after Anderson County sheriff’s authorities discovered her husband — 83-year-old Fred Hayes — deceased in the couple’s residence on North Garrison Street in Frankston. His body was partially in a bathtub, authorities have said.

Blackwelder had called authorities around 4:45 a.m. on the day of the alleged murder to report a domestic disturbance involving she and her husband. Authorities have said Hayes had been struck multiple times in the head with a household decoration described as a brass peacock.

An autopsy performed at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas ruled Hayes’ death was a homicide caused by multiple blunt force and sharp force injuries.

Court-appointed attorney Mark Calhoon of Palestine is representing Blackwelder who has remained in the Anderson County Jail since her arrest in May 2004.

The couple had been married less than a year at the time of Hayes’ death, according to authorities.

If convicted, Blackwelder could be sentenced up to life in prison.

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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