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Federal trial begins in 2003 killing of Georgia Southern student
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    COLUMBUS, Ga. — Michael Antonio Natson lured 23-year-old Ardena Carter to a remote area of Fort Benning, then shot the pregnant woman in the back of the head and left her body to be found by hunters, a prosecutor said Monday.
    During opening arguments in Natson’s capital murder trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Lynch told jurors that Natson thought Carter was going to seek child support money from him. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Natson, 26.
    Carter was last seen alive by friends who dropped her off at her home on Sept. 11, 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, about four miles west of Cusseta on Dec. 16, 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 Alabama at the time he was charged in the death.
    Lynch told jurors that Carter claimed Natson was the father of her unborn child. He said Natson went to Statesboro in mid-September 2003 and got her to accompany him back to Fort Benning on the pretext of providing her with an automobile.
    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.
    ‘‘(They) were not investigating to find out who killed Ardena Carter,’’ Baugh said. ‘‘They were investigating to prove that he (Natson) killed Ardena Carter.’’
    Natson was stationed at Fort Benning when Carter was killed. He was discharged from the U.S. Army, after which he enlisted in the Air Force.
    The trial that is expected to last through the week and possibly into next week.
    Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,
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