SALEM, Mass. (AP) — The trial of a Massachusetts man police say strangled his estranged wife in her apartment three years ago has started.

Douglas Steeves Jr., of Salem, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 48-year-old Carmela Saunders.

The 53-year-old Steeves allegedly went to police in August 2016 where he told detectives he had just strangled his wife.

The Salem News reports jury selection in Steeves' trial began Monday. Opening statements are expected Wednesday.

Steeves' attorney, Raymond Buso, says his client's actions were brought on in the "heat of passion" after answering a call from a man who had started seeing Saunders and he's guilty of no more than manslaughter.

Court papers have revealed prior allegations of domestic violence dating to 1994.

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Information from: The Salem (Mass.) News, http://www.salemnews.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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