Federal Trial Begins in 2003 Killing of Statesboro Student

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A federal prosecutor said today that Alabama-based airman Michael Antonio Natson lured a 23-year-old woman to a remote area of Fort Benning, shot the pregnant woman in the back of the head and left her body to be found by hunters.

Assistant U-S Attorney John Lynch made the remarks during opening statements in Natson's capital murder trial in Columbus, Georgia, in the death of Ardena Carter. Lynch told jurors that Natson thought Carter was going to seek child support money from him.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the 26-year-old Natson.

Carter was last seen alive by friends who dropped her off at her home on September eleventh, 2003. A student at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Carter was studying to be a teacher.

Hunters found her skeletal remains in a remote area of Fort Benning on December 16th, 2003. She had been shot to death with a pistol. The case is being handled in federal court because she was killed on a U-S military reservation.

Natson -- also from Statesboro -- was on active duty at Fort Benning at the time of Carter's death. He was discharged from the Army and joined the U-S Air Force. He was assigned to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery at the time he was charged in the death.

Defense attorney David Baugh told jurors the testimony would show that investigators seized on Natson as a suspect and tailored their case to fit that presumption.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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