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Posted at 05:56 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Murder trial after 2007 fire at District club begins

Jury selection in the murder trial of a former truck driver charged in death of the manager of a strip club he set fire to began Monday in D.C. Superior Court.

Vasile Graure, 41, is already serving a 30-year prison sentence after a jury in 2009 found him guilty of assault with intent to kill and arson in the 2007 incident at the Good Guys Club in Northwest

At the time, the club’s manager, Vladi­mir Djordjevic, was severely injured with second and third degree burns over 80 percent of his body.

But when Djordjevic died from his injuries a year later, prosecutors added new charges of first-degree felony murder.

In the current trial before Judge Thomas Motley, Graure elected to represent himself. He faces an additional 44 years in prison if found guilty.

Prosecutors said Graure became angry when he was kicked out of the strip club at 2311 Wisconsin Ave. NW on Nov. 3, 2007, after trying to take pictures of the dancers with his cellphone.

Graure then went to a gas station, filled a container with gasoline, and returned to the club to douse it with gas and set it on fire, according to court documents.

In court Monday, prosecutors informed the judge they had offered Graure a plea deal — he could have faced less additional prison time if he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder — but were rejected.

By  |  05:56 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Categories:  From the Courthouse, Keith L. Alexander, The District

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