The retrial of an Idaho man accused of the 1984 kidnapping and murder of Jonelle Matthews began in Weld County this week.
Jury selection started Tuesday morning in the trial of Steve Pankey, 71, who faces charges of first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping in the case of Matthews, who was 12 when she disappeared from her family's Greeley home nearly 38 years ago.
Matthews was never seen alive again, and her disappearance remained a mystery until July 23, 2019, when her skeletal remains were unearthed by oil and gas site workers in a rural Weld County field.
Looking back on Jonelle's disappearance:Peek into those early days of the investigation as well as the long-lasting impact on Greeley
Pankey was arrested two years ago after a Weld County grand jury indicted him on charges of first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping with a weapon in connection with Matthews' case.
Pankey's first trial ended in a mistrial last year because jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on his murder and kidnapping charges. Jurors did, however, find Pankey guilty of false reporting to authorities - a misdemeanor with a maximum of sentence of six months in jail. Prosecutors added that charge during last year's trial after Pankey testified to lying about his involvement in Matthews' case.
Pankey pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping charges in May.
On Thursday, Judge Timothy Kerns denied a change of venue request made by Pankey's attorney Jessica Brazil, paving the way for jury selection to begin Tuesday. The trial is scheduled to take more than four weeks.
This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: In Jonelle Matthews case, jury selection begins for retrial