DENVER (CBS4)– The second murder trial is under way for a man accused of killing a 3-year-old girl more than four years ago. Angel Montoya’s first murder trial ended in a mistrial in August 2011.
Neveah Gallegos was reported kidnapped in 2007 by her mother, Miriam Gallegos. Police found the toddler three days later buried under debris. Gallegos is currently serving a 12-year sentence for her role in covering up her daughter’s death. She is the prosecution’s key witness.
In the previous trial, Gallegos broke a gag order. While on the stand, she told the jury that Angel Montoya was a sex offender. both the prosecution and defense agreed that information would not allow Montoya to have a fair trial.
This time around, the prosecution believes they have a stronger case. In their opening statements the prosecution said they would bring in a witness who lives out of state. That witness is expected to say that Neveah was strangled to death.
Autopsy results show the child had trauma to her abdomen and to her throat. It has never been clear exactly what caused her death.
The defense began their opening statements Thursday afternoon. They have already indicated that one of their strategies is to go after Gallegos’ credibility.
Jurors were seated in the trial Wednesday. The jury consists of 14 women and two men.