A jury was seated Tuesday in the murder trial of Edward Timothy Romero, who is accused of shooting 16-year-old Alicia Martinez and cutting up her body after she attended a party at his house.
The 12 jurors and two alternates are expected to hear opening statements from both sides starting Wednesday morning.
Romero has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanityto charges of first-degree murder in the teen's October 2010 killing.
Tuesday's jury selection — the second attempt to seat a jury in this case — hit a potential snag early in the day when nearly a third of the potential jurors acknowledged they'd researched the case on the internet after filling out initial juror questionnaires and learning the nature of the case last Friday.
At least one potential juror was excused after telling attorneys she couldn't stand to look at the grisly photos that might be evidence in the case.
"I would just close my eyes," the woman said in court.
As he sent the newly assembled jury home for the night Tuesday, Denver District Judge William Robbins admonished them, "Don't go looking up stuff," about the case on iPhones, iPads or "even old fashioned computers or library books."
Initial questioning Tuesday of the 79 potential jurors centered around their feelings about and familiarity with mental illness, and an explanation by prosecutors that the legal definition of insanity means a defendant is incapable of distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the crime they are accused of committing.
The first attempt last October to seat a jury was interrupted by a last-minute request from defense attorney Holly Lucas for another psychological evaluation of Romero.
That third evaluation found Romero competent to stand trial, as had previous evaluations, but suggested he might benefit from breaks in testimony.
Testimony in a related trial revealed he suffers from a type of bipolar disorder.
The trial in Denver District Court is expected to take three weeks.
Karen Augé: 303-954-1733, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/karenauge