Intern Murdered: Trial Begins

A murder trial is set to begin for a suburban Philadelphia businessman accused of killing a 23-year-old intern from North Dakota.

William Smithson is accused of strangling Jason Shephard in September 2006. The trial for the 43-year-old Glen Mills man is scheduled to start Monday in Delaware County Court.

Authorities believe Smithson strangled Shephard when he rejected his sexual advances.

Shephard had taken a semester off from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., to work as an intern with Daktronics, a sports scoreboard manufacturer. The Cavalier, N.D., man was on a business trip to suburban Philadelphia when he was killed.

Smithson was the manager of Daktronic's local office. Police say he reported Shephard missing and told them he had dropped him off at his hotel the night before.

But investigators found Shephard's body in Smithson's basement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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