Adan Canela and Policarpio Espinoza

These 2004 photos provided by the Baltimore Police department show Adan Canela, then 18, left, and Policarpio Espinoza, 23. (Baltimore Police Department / May 31, 2004)

A panel of jurors took their seats Monday in the trial of a man accused of nearly beheading three children nine years ago.

Prosecutors say Policarpio Espinoza Perez, a 31-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, slashed the throats of three children ages 8, 9 and 10 in 2004 in a Baltimore apartment in the 7000 block of Park Heights Ave.

Perez has been on trial for the murders twice before, both times with Adan Canela, 26, who is also accused of killing the children.

Jury selection lasted all day Monday under the jurisdiction of Judge M. Brooke Murdock. The jury consists of seven women and five men, along with five alternates.

Perez's attorney Nicholas Panteleakis has told The Baltimore Sun the separate trial will allow him to explain a police interview Perez gave during which he said he hadn't entered the apartment where the murder occurred.

The trial continues with opening statements Tuesday morning.

amatas@baltsun.com

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