Jury selection begins next week for Flores trial

By Amber McIver

The Surveyor

The trial of Tanner Flores, 19, the Berthoud teen accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Ashley Doolittle in June of last year, is scheduled to begin next week and continue for 10 days.

Monday at a pretrial hearing District Attorney Cliff Riedel said he would not seek the death penalty.

Eighth Judicial District Judge Gregory M. Lammons will preside over the trial at the Larimer County Justice Center. Flores faces life in prison on each of two first-degree murder charges, including up to 12 years for second-degree kidnapping allegations.

Jury selection will begin on Monday, Sept. 25, and pull from a pool of 150 individuals to decide on the final 12 jurors and two alternates. During this week’s pretrial hearing the judge was asked by Deputy District Attorney Joseph Petrone to toss one of the proposed jury questions that would ask potential jurors how they felt about gun violence. Potential jurors will also be asked if they have been exposed to any media coverage of the case. Judge Lammons will decide what questions can be posed to the prospective jurors by the time of the selection.

Flores pleaded not guilty earlier in the year and underwent a psychological evaluation prior to the trial due to a motion filed by his defense attorney, Daniel Jasinski.

The death penalty could have been sought in the case. In Colorado it is only an option for Class 1 felonies when the prosecution determines prior to the trial that they will seek it, which then makes a separate sentencing hearing after a guilty verdict necessary.

Flores was arrested June 10 of last year by Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies in Collbran Colo., on his deceases grandfather’s property where Doolittle’s body was found wrapped in a blanket in the cab of Flores’ 1999 Dodge truck. Flores allegedly shot Doolittle multiple times in the head near Carter Lake in Larimer County before driving to the property where he was apprehended.

At a hearing earlier this year prosecutors played video clips of Flores’ initial interview with an investigator with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. In the clips Flores admitted to shooting Doolittle.

At the time of the incident Doolittle had recently ended a year-long relationship with Flores who was reportedly “distraught” over the breakup. Doolittle’s parents have launched a foundation in their daughters honor to help prevent teenage dating violence and provide scholarships to youth involved in organizations that help preserve western heritage. For more information visit ashleydoolittlefoundation.org

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