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Jury selection begins Monday in Belleville hair salon triple murder case

BELLEVILLE, Ill. - Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday at the St. Clair County Courthouse in the trial of a man accused of murdering three people in a Belleville hair salon 13 years ago.

Samuel Johnson, 52, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in 2016.

Johnson is accused of stabbing Belleville sisters Dorothy Bone, 82, and Doris Fischer, 79, and hair stylist Michael Cooney in 2005. The victims were all found inside the hair salon at Cooney's home.

At the time of the crime, Johnson was only charged with a previous attempted burglary. Prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence at the time to charge Johnson in the killings.

However, authorities started up the investigation again back in 2014 leading to the charges.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that four days before the killings Johnson came to Cooney's house and demanded money. But in a jailhouse interview earlier this year, Johnson proclaimed his innocence.

Retired Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney, who was the Belleville Chief when the murders happened, has believed for years that Johnson committed the murders.