Jury selection underway in potential El Paso County death penalty case

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - For the first time in a decade, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty. That announcement was made three weeks ago, ahead of his jury selection. The case is against a man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend and another man.

What's expected to be a two-months-long jury selection for Glen Galloway began Thursday in El Paso County.

Galloway was already convicted of trespassing and stalking his ex-girlfriend Janice Nam before she was found dead in her Colorado Springs home in May 2016.

An 11 News investigation found he had cut off his ankle monitor a full five months before the killing.

The prosecution claims Galloway was lying low in a motel with a man he knew, Marcus Anderson.

Galloway is accused of killing Anderson and leaving his body in a storage unit before allegedly taking his car to Nam's house before her murder.

In court last September, surveillance video was shown of the storage unit where Anderson was found shot to death. The video reportedly shows the two men in the victim's truck driving into the storage unit and only Galloway driving out.

Prosecutors allege Galloway stole Anderson's truck to drive to Nam's house undetected.

Neighbors of Nam's have told 11 News they were well aware of the couple's trouble past together.

"I was kinda shocked because I thought the guy would have been put away by now for past incidents," one neighbor told 11 News following Nam's death.

Surveillance video from inside of Nam's house shows Galloway reportedly breaking a glass door, rushing upstairs, and then leaving quickly. Court documents say he spent 40 seconds total inside the home.

Nam was found shot dead in her bedroom, with the bedside desk drawer ajar - presumably having died trying to reach for her gun in the drawer.

Galloway turned himself in shortly after her body was discovered and reportedly gave deputies a gun — which investigators say was connected with the shell casings found at both scenes.

The DA's office was not available to comment on the death penalty decision after it was first made.

"If a crime is particularly egregious or heinous, then that can be a condition where the prosecution can seek the death penalty," said Brad Laybourne, a former prosecutor.

Laybourne worked for the district attorney's office at the time the last death penalty case moved through the local courts in 2007.

The defendant in that case, Marco Lee, eventually took a plea deal for killing a Colorado Springs police officer, sparing him the death penalty.

Laybourne said there are many conditions that are weighed before the death penalty option is considered.

"There's a lot of risk for the prosecution in a case like this because the standard is so high and if you have just one person on the jury who doesn't agree, well, then you've spent all this money on what you could have gotten on a plea bargain," he said.

Other conditions that would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty -- in addition to killing a law enforcement officer or killing multiple people -- are if the defendant is convicted of being a part of a murder for hire plot, or if they retaliated against a witness or victim in a case.

In court on Thursday, the first roughly 300 potential jurors were brought in out of the 1,200 called in. A different pool of 300 will come in each day until the jury is selected. The judge estimated that could take six to eight weeks.

Once selected, there will be a jury of 12 people plus six alternates. If Galloway is convicted, they'll be the ones to decide if he gets the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Following jury selection, trial is expected to take up to an additional two months.