Jury selection begins in the trial of Leigha Ackerson, who faces first-degree murder charge
First wave of 250 jurors from a pool of 750 is called into district court on Monday
EAGLE — After months of delays, jury selection began Monday in the three-week trial of Leigha Ackerson, who is charged with murder in the death of Catherine Kelley in Kelley’s Pilgrim Downs home near Edwards.
The first round of 250 jurors were summoned to district court on Monday in the selection process that is expected to last through Friday. A total of 750 jurors are slated to be called by the end of the week in three waves of 250. The jury trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the courtroom of Judge Paul R. Dunkelman. The trial is on the docket to run through Nov. 13.
Ackerson was with her husband Jacob Taylor White when the couple allegedly broke into Catherine Kelley’s Pilgrim Downs home in January 2018 and robbed and murdered Kelley.
White pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and burglary, telling Dunkelman and Kelley’s family members at his sentencing that he “hates” what he did and that he had been ingesting cannabis. Dunkelman sentenced White to 68 years in prison. Because he’s guilty of crimes of violence, he must serve at least 75 percent of his sentence.
Ackerson’s three-week trial that was set to begin in January 2019 has repeatedly been postponed and rescheduled.
Ackerson is charged with first-degree murder. She has pleaded not guilty to eight felonies, including the first-degree murder charge. If she’s convicted, she will go to prison for life.
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