NJ man charged with murder to act as own lawyer

New Jersey news from Eyewitness News

December 30, 2011 6:40:30 AM PST
A New Jersey man will represent himself in court against charges he murdered his girlfriend and dumped her body in a suitcase in New York.

Shawn Southerland's trial is scheduled to begin next month in Hudson County.

The 50-year-old Southerland, of Bayonne, is accused of killing 36-year-old Christie Neely in 2007. Neely's body was found in a suitcase off the Henry Hudson Parkway in the Bronx. She had worked as a telemarketer in midtown Manhattan.

Police say they traced the suitcase to a store in Bayonne, where a store employee identified Southerland as the person who bought it.

Southerland was arrested in Philadelphia in 2008. He has been granted a non-jury trial and will have his case tried before a state Superior Court judge.

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