The beginning stages of two trials at the Mesa County Justice Center are underway, with the beginning of the jury selection process.
Attorneys have begun weeding through potential jurors in the first degree murder case of Hector Zambrano. The process is a combination of information surrounding what being a juror means, as well as direct questions from not only the attorneys involved in the case, but from the judge as well.
Dozens of potential jurors sat through the day long process Monday for the first degree murder case involving Hector Zambrano, who's accused of strangling his wife, 44 year old Patricia Reyes in April of 2004. The incident is believed to have happened during an argument after the two had allegedly been drinking.
No evidence is presented during the jury selection process, however, potential jurors were asked basic questions surrounding any biases they may have. In this case, Zambrano is a native of Honduras and jurors were asked if they would harbor any bias towards either someone from another country or someone who couldn't speak English.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger explained the theory of proof beyond a reasonable doubt while defense attorney Stephen Laiche reminded potential jurors that Zambrano has taken responsibility for the death of his wife and claims it was an accident. Laiche told jurors their job would be to determine weather the homicide was premeditated, as the charge of first degree murder implies. Selection was not completed Monday and potential jurors will be back in Judge Bailey's courtroom Tuesday morning to continue the process.