Jury selected for the retrial of Lester Jones

(KJCT)
Published: Nov. 25, 2016 at 8:48 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A jury was selected, and opening statements began in the retrial of Lester Jones Friday afternoon.

Jones is accused of kidnapping and murdering local mom, Paige Birgfeld back in 2007. The first trial of Jones ended in a hung jury in September.

Opening statements were similar to those in the first trial. One of the biggest differences was the make up of the jury.

The first group of jurors had 4 men, 11 women and 3 alternates. This time around there are 8 men and 6 women on the jury.

Prosecution began by stating some red flags leading them to believe Jones is guilty.

"He had a connection to Paige Birgfeld, none of the other suspects that you'll hear about in this case, that law enforcement dealt with, had that same connection," said prosecuting attorney, David Waite. "No alibi for the time of the disappearance."

The prosecution also mentioned Jones had a previous history of violence towards women, as he threatened to kill his former wife.

Prosecutors referenced a burner phone Jones purchased. The phone only showed calls made to and from Birgfeld, which stopped at the time of her disappearance.

The defense's opening statement stated there were mistakes and missteps in the investigation.

"Forensic testing of hundreds of items, hundreds of hours of interviews, countless searches, numerous dog sniff treks," said defense attorney, Kara Smith. "Hundreds of pages of phone records and you will see how little, how light, the evidence is."

The defense started their statement by mentioning the former investigator on the case. That investigator was removed from the case, and shortly after she left, evidence that had never been recorded was found in her office.

Defense added that there were lost interviews, and investigations weren't thorough enough to rule out other suspects.

The trial will continue on Monday.