El Paso County's first death penalty trial in a decade beginning Monday

By Lance Benzel Updated: May 14, 2018 at 6:15 am • Published: May 12, 2018 0
photo - Opening statements at the double-murder trial of former Fort Carson soldier Glen Law Galloway are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Monday.
Opening statements at the double-murder trial of former Fort Carson soldier Glen Law Galloway are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

After more than two months of jury selection, testimony in El Paso County's first death penalty trial in a decade is about to get underway.

Opening statements at the double-murder trial of former Fort Carson soldier Glen Law Galloway are expected to begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

His trial is expected to last six weeks - followed by several more weeks for a penalty phase should he be found guilty.

Galloway, 46, a one-time helicopter mechanic who later worked for Atmel Corp., a Colorado Springs semiconductor manufacturer, faces multiple counts of first-degree murder in the May 2016 slayings of his ex-girlfriend, Janice Nam, and a homeless man named Marcus Anderson. The two were fatally shot on consecutive days in May 2016, several months after Galloway cut off an ankle monitor and went into hiding.

The case is expected to serve as a test of whether El Paso County prosecutors can succeed where others in Colorado have fallen short: Persuading a panel to impose death.

In 2015, two juries in a month rejected the death penalty, including the panel that convicted Aurora theater shooter James Holmes - a case that involved some of the same players involved in the Galloway prosecution, including Daniel King, chief trial deputy for the Colorado Public Defender's Office, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Dan Edwards.

King, alongside another Holmes attorney, Kristen Nelson, will be assisting Colorado Springs public defenders Kim Chalmers and Julian Rosielle in Galloway's defense. Edwards joins a trio of El Paso County prosecutors, Rachael Powell and veterans Reggy Short and Donna Billek.

Prosecutors previously sought the death of cop-killer Marco Lee in 2007, under then-District Attorney John Newsome, but Lee ended up pleading guilty in exchange for a life sentence.

District Attorney Dan May has previously declined to address why the office elected to pursue death against Galloway, citing a gag order in the case. The District Attorney's Office has since indicated that it is considering death penalty cases against at least two other local murder defendants, Diego Chacon and Marco Garcia-Bravo, who are charged in the execution slayings of two Coronado High School students over what authorities characterize as a gang hit.

Preparations for Galloway's trial include $50,000 worth of upgrades to the courtroom where he will be tried, including two new wall-mounted video monitors, a document reader and a "smart" podium capable of powering electronic devices.

Nearly 3,000 El Paso County residents were summoned to 4th Judicial District Court beginning March 5 to be considered for Galloway's panel, in what a jury commissioner described as the county's largest pool in memory.

That process spanned eight weeks and wrapped up Thursday, leaving 112 candidates heading into group questioning.

A jury of 18, including six alternates, will hear evidence in the case.

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