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Man goes on trial in second hammer killing of a woman

Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of a man who killed his ex-girlfriend with a hammer _ 19 years after being convicted of a similar slaying in Germany.

William Coday, 45, fatally beat 30-year-old Gloria Gomez in his Victoria Park apartment in 1997.

Prosecutors will argue that Coday intentionally killed Gomez after luring her to his home, saying he was dying of cancer.

Coday's public defenders concede that he killed Gomez, but will counter that it happened in the heat of passion as they argued about whether their relationship would continue. They hope he will be convicted of a lesser count.

In 1978, Coday fatally beat his ex-girlfriend, Lisa Hullinger, with a hammer in Hamburg, Germany, where she was an American exchange student.

His attorney mounted an insanity defense, and Coday received three years in prison. He was freed after 15 months.

Nobody notified Hullinger's family when Coday was freed. They found out their daughter's killer was back in the United States much later, when an official mentioned his release as an afterthought.

Their 19-year-old daughter's death left the Hullingers feeling so isolated that they formed a support group, Parents of Murdered Children, which has grown in the United States and overseas.

The group gives support to murder victims' families, campaigns against early release and offers other services such as expert review of evidence for families in cases where police won't file charges.

When Hullinger's mother found out in 1997 that Coday had killed another woman, she said it was devastating.

"It made me feel even more helpless than before when Lisa was murdered," Charlotte Hullinger said. "It was just unbelievable _ but very believable in the sense that we knew he had the potential to do it again."

Gomez's parents haven't made the trip from their native Colombia for the trial. But the Hullingers drove down from their Cincinnati home to take the Gomezes' place in the courtroom.

The Hullingers were unable to attend Coday's trial in Germany. They couldn't afford to travel there, father Robert Hullinger was in poor health and they felt stymied by the language barrier.

"We were not able to be there for Lisa, and now Gloria's family can't be here this time," Charlotte Hullinger said. "We want Bill (Coday) to see us. I feel like I need to do it for Lisa, and for Gloria's family."