(Neb)-Jury Selection Underway In "Body In A Barrel" Murder Trial
BRIDGEPORT - The twice-delayed Morrill County District Court trial of a Bridgeport man for the Panhandle's 2015 "body in a barrel" murder case finally began today with jury selection.
25-year old Zachary Mueller is charged with 1st-degree murder in the death of 33-year old Pedro Dominguez of Greeley, Colo.
A pool of 120 potential jurors has been called and split between morning and afternoon sessions for questioning by the attorneys. The goal is to pick the 12 person jury with two alternates today so opening arguments can begin in the morning.
A farmer found Dominguez's clothed body wrapped in a bed sheet inside a sealed barrel floating in a creek near Bayard, with an autopsy showing he died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
The barrel was found Dec 4, 2015, but authorities believe the murder occurred several days earlier at a rural residence outside Bridgeport.
Key testimony in the trial is expected to come from Felicia Talley, Dominguez's girlfriend and the mother of Mueller's child...7-years old at the time of the killing.
A former Panhandle resident with no permanent residence, Talley has been in protective custody in the Morrill County jail since August when she demonstrated an unwillingness to return to Nebraska for future interviews or the trial.
The prosecution says Talley told a Morrill County Sheriff's deputy that she "observed everything" about the murder.
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