updated 2/14/2012 12:48:13 PM ET 2012-02-14T17:48:13

Nearly a year after authorities rescued a missing North Texas woman from a home described by one sheriff as a "house of horrors" where a deer-skinning rack allegedly had been used as a torture device, her former neighbor is going on trial.

Jeffrey Allan Maxwell, 59, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. Opening statements were to start Tuesday, a day after a jury was selected. Maxwell, who has remained jailed in Parker County in lieu of $500,000 bail, faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Maxwell is accused of abducting the woman at gunpoint from her rural Parker County home March 1 and driving to his house about 100 miles away in Corsicana, then later setting her house on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Parker County authorities were baffled about her disappearance after the blaze and began a desperate search for her. Tips led to Maxwell, whose romantic interest in the woman had been spurned years earlier. She previously complained to friends that he harassed her, authorities said.

Maxwell was arrested March 12 at his house, and the woman was rescued. Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler described it as a "house of horrors."

Related: Cops eye 'house of horrors' suspect in 2 cold cases

Maxwell will not use an insanity defense and is competent to stand trial, his defense attorneys said at a court hearing last month.

State District Judge Trey Loftin also previously denied a defense motion to suppress Maxwell's statements to law enforcement authorities.

Defense attorneys have said Maxwell had asked for a lawyer while being questioned shortly after his arrest. But Loftin said Maxwell gave his statements voluntarily and requested an attorney only when authorities asked if anyone else had helped him.

According to documents, Maxwell told an investigator that after he took the woman back to his house, he "strung her up" in his garage on a homemade rack used for skinning deer.

Maxwell has also been investigated on suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of his ex-wife Martha Martinez Maxwell.

She has been missing since 1992. Maxwell divorced her in 1995, citing her disappearance.

Martha Martinez Maxwell first went missing in 1987 before being found beaten with her throat cut near Ardmore, Okla. She survived those injuries. Maxwell was charged with aggravated kidnapping in that case in 1987, but court records show a Tarrant County grand jury declined to indict him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

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