Trial to start this week in 1999 Moorhead killing

Associated Press

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Trial will start this week for a man accused of killing his former neighbor in Moorhead nearly 18 years ago.

The Fargo Forum reports that jury selection begins Monday in the trial of Clarence Michael Burcham.

Burcham was a longtime suspect in the death of 26-year-old Sharon Stafford but he wasn't charged until 2009, after he allegedly confessed. Stafford died when she was choked with an electrical cord in her Moorhead trailer home after a night of heavy drinking.

That confession is expected to be a key issue in the trial, which could last three weeks.

The 46-year-old Burcham, from Center, N.D., faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. He declined to plead guilty to a lesser charge in a deal that would've given him 27 years.