The selection of the jury that must evaluate the evidence that will be presented in the second trial against Pablo Casellas Torofor the murder of his wife Carmen Paredes Cintronresumed this Thursday in room 704 of the Bayamon Court.
The so-called disassembling of the jury began last week, when 42 people from three panels of candidates were summoned, of which 13 were excused for different reasons.
In addition, a group of citizens began to be interviewed, made up of 15 women and three men, mostly middle-aged and older adults. They were presented with a list of 61 possible witnesses and their respective photos to find out if they knew them, but none reported having any connection.
For this new judicial process, 20 panels of 15 jury candidates each were created. The judge Nerisvel Duran Guzman He set aside more days on the calendar for jury selection, which, for the moment, will be done two days a week. The next dates are October 19, 20, 26 and 27; November 2, 3, 9 and 16; and December 1, 8, 15, 22.
The selection process of the 12 people who must make an impartial and fair judgment on the guilt or innocence of Casellas Toro will be long. On the dates indicated, the test parade by the Public Ministry – which is represented by the prosecutors Ivan Rivera, Gabriel Redondo, Lis Lopez and Edwin Ortiz III– could start in January 2024.
Judge Duran Guzman granted the parties double the peremptory challenges in this second process against Casellas Toro. Both the defense – led by lawyers Harry Padilla and Kendys Pimentel – and the prosecution will have 20 opportunities to excuse any candidate for jury duty without having to offer explanations.
Paredes Cintron, 46, was murdered on the morning of July 14, 2012. The woman’s body was found in the pool area of a residence in the Tierra Alta III urbanization, in Guaynabo, and she had several gunshot wounds, including a shot to the head and another to the chest.
Casellas Toro faces charges of murder, violations of the Weapons Law, destruction of evidence and issuing false statements about a crime, all in relation to the femicide of Paredes Cintron. The former insurance broker was found guilty on January 22, 2014 with a verdict of 11-1 and sentenced, a month later, to 109 years in prison.
The sentencing appeal process began immediately and remained active until 2020, when the United States Supreme Court established that the verdict against a defendant charged with a serious crime must be unanimous, which applies to both the state and federal levels.
The decision of the federal Supreme Court applied to Casellas Toro because his case was in the appeal process and was not final and firm. The man was released under electronic monitoring on August 21, 2020, after paying $2 million bail.