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Murder trial begins for Ardena Carter

Three and a half years after Georgia Southern University student Ardena Marie Carter went missing from her University Pointe apartment, a suspect is slated to go to trial Monday for her murder.
    Michael Antonio Natson, 27,  whom Carter's family said was her boyfriend, is charged in the death of Carter and her unborn daughter. Hunters discovered the remains of Carter and her fetus in Dec. 2003 in a wooded area near Ft. Benning, where Natson was stationed.
    Carter was reported missing late Sept. 2003, and was last seen alive by friends who dropped her off at her apartment. Carter told them she planned to walk to the Henderson Library, but days afterward, her mother reported her missing and police found her apartment undisturbed.
    Statesboro Police Det. Terry Briley and GSU Police Lt. Wayne McKinney  opened an investigation and gathered evidence including cell phone data that pointed to Carter having gone to Columbus. More evidence was found in Columbus, and military police joined the investigation.
    Natson , a former U.S. Army active-duty soldier at Ft. Benning, was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, Middle District of Georgia, in Macon June 16, 2005.
    On June 22, 2005,  FBI agents arrested Natson, who has remained in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
    Briley said Wednesday the trial is expected "to last from two to six weeks" and the first week will include opening statements from the prosecution and defense as well as testimony by Carter's mother, Diane Croomes, who lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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