It's been a long day full of choosing jurors who will determine the fate of Ivan Teleguz who's charged with Capital Murder. Police believe he hired two people to kill his girlfriend Stephanie Sipe of Harrisonburg in July, 2001 so he wouldn't have to pay child support.
The jury pool started with about 125 people. It's such a large group because it's a death penalty case. The prosecution and defense want to be sure they choose the right people to make this decision.
As questions were being asked the judge read through the witness list. Edward Gilkes, who has already pled guilty got his charge reduced to being an accessory before the fact in a First Degree Murder, is slated to take the stand. Also testifying is Michael Hetrick. He is the man Teleguz allegedly hired to kill Sipe. He's charged with Capital Murder for Hire and Conspiracy to Commit Capital Murder. Other witnesses include Stephanie's mom Pam Woods. She found her daughter laying in the doorway of her apartment with her throat slashed on July 23, 2001. The next few days will be emotional for the family.
The trial will also highlight the extensive work done by those investigating the murder. Years of hard work are about to pay off for many Harrisonburg and out-of-state investigators.
"They experience the frustrations that a lot of times the family members will also trying to work a case where everybody wants answers," said Lt. Kurt Boshart, Public Information Officer for the Harrisonburg Police Department.
They were among the first people to arrive at the gruesome scene at the Deer Run Apartments in July, 2001. The body Stephanie Sipe lay in the doorway with her throat slashed. Her two year old son, Zachary, was found unharmed in the bathroom.
"Anytime you know that you have a child involved it's going to pull at some heartstrings. I think it will affect the investigators working the case," said Boshart.
Almost five years have passed since the murder; but Boshart says that shouldn't affect the trial.
"You still have the facts of the case and I don't think that can go disputed, but as far as the cases work out and plays into court that's a prosecution strategy," said Boshart.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow morning. We will keep you up to date on what is going on as the day goes by.