Opening arguments have begun in the murder trial of 46-year-old Steven McDowell, who has confessed to strangling his ex-wife, local realtor Crystal McDowell, on the same day Hurricane Harvey blew along the Gulf Coast. 

Because of the heavy publicity connected with the case, the trial is being held in the Constitutional Courtroom of the Galveston County Justice Center. Judge Chap B. Cain III of the 253rd District Court in Chambers County is presiding. 

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