Jury selection to start today in 2007 murder of Gilbert 19-year-oldPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- After nearly four years, jury selection begins Tuesday in the case of a Valley man accused of raping and killing a Gilbert co-ed.
Prosecutors say Jonathan Burns shot Jackie Hartman on their first date together on Jan. 28, 2007.
It was a nearly month before police found the 19-year-old's body buried in the desert near Fountain Hills.
A grand jury indicted Burns, now 29, in connection with Hartman's disappearance before her body was found.
Burns' trial has been delayed several times, and jury selection could take several days.
Back in March, Burns requested a new lawyer, accusing his public defender of not following up on "investigative leads" that could help his case. Burns reportedly also cited "trust issues." At this point, however, Joseph Stazzone, is still on record as Burns' attorney.
Burns, who is also charged with sexual assault, kidnapping and weapons misconduct, has maintained his innocence since his arrest. He did admit having sex with Hartman but claims he dropped her off to meet her family.
Police say Hartman did call her sister to pick her up at a gas station, but the nursing student never made it. Hartman's clothing, torn and riddled with bullet holes, was found in a trash bin near Burns' Mesa home. Police arrested Burns the next day.
According to autopsy results, Hartman had been shot twice in the back of the head. Traces of the date-rape drug gamma-hydroxybutyric (GHB) were found in her blood.
Burns' lawyer has filed a motion to keep that toxicology report out of evidence, saying the amount of GHB in Hartman's system "was too low to cause unconsciousness or sedation."
Also at issue is a motion by Stazzone to either change or dismiss some of the charges against Burns. He contends that based on a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, charging Burns with kidnapping and first-degree murder is essentially double jeopardy. If convicted, Burns could face the death penalty.