Attorneys prepare for Lopez murder trial

WALSENBURG — The defense and prosecution attended an omnibus hearing Monday, December 16 in District Court in connection with the upcoming second degree murder trial of Roberto Lopez. The hearing held Monday should be one of the last before the case comes to trial on January 6, 2014. Issues covered in the brief hearing included readdressing sequester and jury questionnaire items and a defense issue concerning criminal background histories of two key prosecution witnesses; Venhur Hernandez and Aldo Estrada. Both will be brought to the United States from Mexico for the trial next month. Criminal records from Mexico have been difficult to obtain and Assistant DA Andrew Hall said no felonies against the two had been found by a US private investigator with an office in Mexico who was hired by the DA to try to obtain that information. There could possibly be one more informal review of the case, tentatively calendared for Monday, December 30, if necessary.