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Trial starts; man faces 50 counts

ALBANY, Ga. -- Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of a man charged with 50 crimes, including multiple kidnapping, rape and aggravated sodomy charges, a Dougherty Judicial Circuit official said.

"The jury selection process is not complete," Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. "We'll be at it again at 9 in the morning."

Phillip Benjamin Conner is accused of attacking seven victims, probably prostitutes, Edwards said. According to Edwards, "(Conner) chose women he suspected of night activities."

Arrested on March 19, 2009, Conner is accused of impersonating a police narcotics officer in order to imprison, rape and assault women.

At one point, Edwards called Conner a serial rapist who was involved in the crimes since June 2008.

Conner, reportedly a former mall security guard, would approach his prey posing as a police officer. He would then kidnap, assault and rape them in wooded areas, according to Edwards.

According to court documents, Conner used a firearm and a knife during the commission of the crimes.

The investigation into Conner's activities also involved the Georgia Bureau of Investigation because at first it was unknown whether the accused was a real police officer engaged in the crimes or an impostor.

The Albany Police Department was also involved in the investigation.