Jury selection in the trial of two men accused of extreme violence in two separate cases began yesterday in Madison County Court.  43-year-old Ray T. Slack is accused of killing an elderly relative last March, while 43-year-old Freddie Ross is charged in the attempted murder of his girlfriend in February of 2011. Opening statements in both trials are expected today.


Ray Slack is charged with two counts of first degree murder, and single counts of armed robbery and attempted residential burglary. The Madison County State's Attorney's Office alleges 77-year-old Robert J. Garrett was killed by Ray Slack in an argument over money. The younger Slack allegedly hit Garrett with a concrete object and strangled him. He and another relative allegedly returned to Garrett's home with the intention of robbing him, but alert neighbors noticed the two men in a truck that wasn't normally seen in the neighborhood and called police. Ross, of the 200 block of Bonds Avenue, allegedly attacked the woman with a bat and attempted to hold her at the home. A neighbor of Ross contacted authorities, after the victim was able to break free and run to their home for help. Police say Ross used a baseball bat to strike the woman, who also lived at the house, and then tied her up to a chair using duct tape and a telephone cord. East Alton authorities say Ross had turned on the gas, and they believed he intended to kill the woman, and perhaps take his own life. Ross is also charged with aggravated domestic battery and aggravated unlawful restraint.

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