Trial opens Monday in meat rendering plant stabbing death

- Jury selection begins Monday for a man's trial in the stabbing death of a co-worker during an argument at a Montgomery County meat rendering plant last year.

Peter Atem, 33, of Lansdale is charged with first- and third-degree murder in the February 2015 killing of 25-year-old Danny Vazquez at the MOPAC plant in Franconia Township.

Authorities said the stabbing occurred the day after the victim yanked a chair out from under the defendant as a prank. Defense attorney Benjamin Cooper has called the events a fight that "got beyond what it should have."

The judge earlier denied a defense request to bar prosecutors from using Atem's statements to detectives. Prosecutors have announced that they won't seek the death penalty if Atem is convicted of first-degree murder.

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