BRIGHTON, Colo. (KDVR) — Less than 24 hours after an Aurora Police officer was convicted in the death of Elijah McClain, jury selection began for another officer charged in the case.
Nathan Woodyard is the Aurora Police officer who will now go on trial on counts of reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. The same judge will oversee the case at the Adams County courthouse.
Woodyard, who has been indefinitely suspended without pay, was one of three police officers and two paramedics implicated in the death of McClain in 2019. McClain died after officers used a chokehold and paramedics injected him with ketamine to subdue him.
Former officer Randy Roedema was convicted Thursday of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault. Roedema has now been terminated.
The other officer was acquitted.
“It’s not good at all. It’s an indication that a jury found another officer, with less incriminating evidence, already found that person guilty. So this is very bad for Officer Woodyard going into this trial,” FOX31 legal analyst Chris Decker said.
Jury selection comes after high-profile verdict in Elijah McClain’s death
Woodyard will stand trial alone. Decker said the other two officers stood trial together, which was a decision made by the judge.
Now comes the task of picking a jury in such a case that was widely publicized.
“There’s another concern that Officer Woodyard and his attorney are wrestling with today,” Decker said. “They are trying to pick a jury in the fallout of yesterday’s verdict. The court will be very challenged to find a jury that has not been exposed to the media coverage in the last 48 hours and who may not have been substantially moved by that coverage.”
Decker said the judge could delay the start of the trial and let the coverage die down a bit.
The court will learn more about what potential jurors have heard or seen about this case when they return on Monday as jury selection continues.