Jury selection begins in trial over murder of Beaverton alumna
Jury selection starts this week in the Austin, Texas, trial of Meechaiel Criner, the suspect charged with the capital murder of Haruka Weiser, a former Beaverton resident and alumna of Beaverton's Arts & Communication Magnet Academy, or ACMA.
Weiser was killed two years ago. She was a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
Criner, 19, has pleaded not guilty. Because he was 17 years old at the time of the homicide, Criner is not eligible for the death penalty if convicted. The extent of his punishment would be life with the possibility of parole if found guilty of the murder.
Criner is accused of killing Weiser, then 18, as she walked back to her dorm on April 3, 2016. Police found her body in Waller Creek two days later and arrested Criner on April 8, 2016.
At a status hearing last week, the judge in the case said he hopes to have a jury seated by Wednesday of this week and opening statements might start that day or Thursday. The trial is expected to last a week and a half, but will be several days shorter than originally expected because of the Judge's decision to throw out certain DNA evidence in the case.
Prosecutors haven't said what other evidence they plan to introduce, but the list appears to be extensive. Police say surveillance video shows Criner near the scene of the crime, and firefighters found him at a trash fire near the UT campus. Police say he had a woman's bike and duffel bag that looked like Weiser's, and in the ashes detectives found one of her shoes, a burned college notebook and what appeared to be her jacket.
KOIN 6 is a news partner of The Times.