Murder trial begins for man accused of killing 3-year-old

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Angel Montoya, Miriam Gallegos

Angel Montoya, Miriam Gallegos

DENVER – Prosecutors say Angel Montoya strangled three-year-old Neveah Gallegos to death, and then devised a plot to conceal her body.

Opening statements began Thursday in the first degree murder trial of Montoya, 27, who is accused of killing his girlfriend’s daughter in 2007.

According to the Denver District Attorney, Miriam Gallegos left her daughter in Montoya’s care on Sept. 21, 2007, and then went to work at her job at Sports Authority.

When she returned to their Capitol Hill apartment later that day, she found her daughter’s body under a blanket.

Montoya, according to prosecutors, kept telling his girlfriend “I didn’t do it,” but then organized a plan to conceal the crime with Gallegos’ help.

Neveah Gallegos

Neveah Gallegos

Gallegos told a stranger that her daughter had been kidnapped.  That stranger –in turn- contacted police, prompting a frantic search.

Meanwhile Montoya, according to prosecutors, placed Neaveh’s body in a blue duffel bag and left the apartment.

Neveah’s body was found three days later under a pile of debris in a west Denver ditch.

Montoya’s public defender contends there is no evidence Montoya abused the child, and also questions why the Denver medical examiner could not definitively determine the cause of death.

Miriam Gallegos is serving 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to negligent child abuse resulting in death. She is expected to testify against Montoya.

Montoya’s first murder trial ended in a mistrial in 2011.