PUEBLO – A judge has ruled the murder trial for Donthe Lucas will now start on July 30 and last approximately one month. Lucas is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, Kelsie Schelling, 21, who is presumed dead but has not been located since she was last seen in Pueblo in February 2013 during a trip from Denver to see Lucas.
Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense told a judge in January they likely wouldn’t be ready for the case as previously scheduled in April. Attorneys told the judge there are an additional 125 potential witnesses that could possibly be called to testify, leaving them little time to sort through the knowledge or evidence they may possess.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for April.
Kelsie Schelling’s case has lagged in public prominence recently due to the disappearance and suspected murder of similarly-named Kelsey Berreth of Woodland Park, another young woman who remains missing and is, like Schelling, believed to have been killed by her romantic partner despite no body having been recovered so far.
The defense has filed several motions in the case, including seeking a change of venue due to an “overwhelming amount of publicity.” There’s also a motion on introducing a possible alternate suspect, specifically Kelsie’s father. Attorneys will claim he had a history of violence toward Kelsie including going to her room and choking her. That motion was not brought up in today’s hearing.
The defense is also trying to have the testimony regarding the results of a polygraph test administered on Lucas by law enforcement kept out of the case, and a motion to exclude evidence from the prosecution in which they intend to represent potential proof of why they believe Schelling is no longer alive.
The case is dependent on being able to prove her death as there’s been no sign of her since her 2013 disappearance.
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