Donthe Lucas, Kelsie Schelling
Lucas trial still on schedule
During Donthe Lucas’ April 25-26 motions hearing that is now set to resume in June, Kelsie Schelling’s mother, Laura Saxton, expressed concern about the possibility of the start of Lucas’ trial getting pushed back again.
In two days, Lucas’ defense counsel and prosecutors from the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office only got through one of five motions that were set to be considered. And there are additional motions, including one filed by Lucas’ defense for a change of venue, that still need to be taken up as well.
Following the first day of the motions hearing, Saxton told an assembly of reporters outside the court that her biggest hope with the case right now is that the trial does not get delayed again.
Lucas, suspected of first-degree murder in the February 2013 disappearance of Schelling from Pueblo, originally was supposed to face trial on April 2 before the trial date start got pushed back to July 30. The move was needed to allow more time for preparation due to the vast amount of evidence and witnesses in the case.
Despite Saxton’s concerns about the potential of having the trial delayed again, it is still scheduled to start on July 30, according to the court docket.
So it appears that attorneys are going to work through all of the pre-trial motions in the case in time for the scheduled three-week trial to begin on that date.
Another motions hearing in Lucas’ case is slated for June 13 and 14.
The change of venue motion filed by Lucas’ defense counsel hasn’t been taken up yet by the judge presiding over the case, but he did say during another motions hearing in early February that he probably won’t be inclined to move the trial elsewhere because he’s confident a jury can be seated here. The judge said he will hear what Lucas’ defense attorneys have to say about the matter, though.
In the motion, Guillermo Garibay, one of Lucas’ attorneys, said he wants the case tried somewhere other than Pueblo County due to the amount of media exposure it has received both on a local and national level.
Other motions that are scheduled to be considered by the judge include a motion to suppress evidence related to photo displays, a motion for discovery alleging government misconduct, a motion to suppress statements by Lucas, and a motion for sanctions due to destruction of evidence in the case.
Detectives with the Pueblo Police Department arrested Lucas, 26, on Dec. 1, 2017, in connection with the February 2013 disappearance of Schelling.
An arrest warrant charging Lucas with first-degree murder was served to him while he already was in custody at the Pueblo County jail on an unrelated aggravated robbery charge stemming from an incident that allegedly took place outside a home in which he was living in the 1100 block of West Mesa Avenue on Sept. 1, 2017.
Lucas is being held at the Pueblo County jail without bond on the first-degree murder charge and on a $100,000 cash-only bond in the aggravated robbery case.
Schelling, then 21 years old, reportedly drove to Pueblo from her home in Denver on Feb. 4, 2013, to meet with Lucas, the purported father of her unborn child.
She has not been seen or heard from since.