By Olga Pena

Killeen Daily Herald

GATESVILLE – Following a full day of jury selection, opening arguments were set to begin at 9 a.m. today in the trial of 23-year-old former Fort Hood soldier Michael Andrea Larkin Jr., who is accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to kidnap a 7-year-old Copperas Cove girl in March 2005.

Jury selection began at 9 a.m. Monday when 300 summoned potential jurors went through the selection process at the Coryell County Courthouse.

"I would anticipate that this trial will be completed this week," 52nd District Judge Phillip Zeigler told the potential jurors Monday. "Jury duty is a duty that we have as citizens. It is also a right we have as citizens of this country."

Shortly before 5 p.m., the 12-person jury selections were complete.

District Clerk Janice Gray reported a seven-man, five-woman jury was selected by District Attorney David Castillo, Assistant District Attorney Catherine Ferguson-Gilbert and Larkin's defense attorney, Monty Montgomery.

Larkin, who is being held in the Coryell County Jail on a $2 million bond, is accused of entering Hettie Halstead Elementary School in Copperas Cove on March 7, 2005, and molesting the girl in the girls' bathroom.

He is charged with two counts of attempted aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Larkin also faces charges in Bell County for July 2005 offenses of aggravated sexual assault of a child and kidnapping in an incident involving two 7-year-old Killeen girls. He will stand trial in 264th District Court on Aug. 7 before Judge Martha Trudo.

While out on a $40,000 bond for the Copperas Cove offense and wearing an electronic ankle bracelet, Larkin allegedly kidnapped the two Killeen girls, sexually assaulting one of them. The ankle bracelet was a condition of his bond after Army officials and Judge of the 52nd District Court deemed Larkin a flight risk after he bought a plane ticket to Los Angeles.

Montgomery has previously stated that his client suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from serving in Iraq. He also has said he believes his client suffers from disassociative identity disorder.

Larkin was a specialist with Company A, 15th Main Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. The military was investigating allegations that he molested two women while stationed in Iraq.

Shortly after Larkin's arrest in July 2005, a 1st Cavalry spokesman confirmed that Larkin was discharged from the military on June 16 for commission of a serious crime.

Contact Olga Peña at

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