Donthe Lucas trial pushed back in Kelsie Schelling case, change of venue denied

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PUEBLO, Colo - Donthe Lucas' trial will be remain in Pueblo despite his defense team's push to move it to a new location.

Lucas' defensive team said they are concerned with racial bias against Lucas and do not want to try this case twice. The judge denied the change of venue on Friday because he said Lucas' race has nothing to do with his guilt or innocence in this case.

"As long as we're able to get an impartial jury here than this is where it'll be and at this point I really hope that happens because if we had to start over again somewhere else that setback would be devastating," said Schelling's mother Laura Saxton.

The venue announcement came just a day after the public learned the trial for the disappearance of his pregnant girlfriend Kelsie Schelling was pushed back until January 2020 because of new evidence.

"I'm devastated by it. I mean, I came into today expecting it because it seems like that's the way it goes but it didn't make it any easier to hear that it's not going to be until 2020. I mean, that just sounds like ridiculous," said Schelling's mother Laura Saxton.

Schelling disappeared over six years ago in February 2013 when she was heading to Pueblo to see Lucas about her pregnancy. Schelling's body still has not been found.

Schelling's attorneys said investigators found a six inch hair in the back of Schelling's trunk. After DNA testing, investigators found the hair to be the same as Sara Lucas, Donthe's mother.

Lucas was arrested in December 2017 while in jail on an unrelated robbery charge. Lucas pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in August 2018. Lucas' mother pleaded guilty to her role in the same robbery.

"Sara Lucas being a presence in this case in nothing new," said prosecutor Michelle Chostner.

Defense attorneys believed it was necessary to have an expert evaluate the new evidence. The judge granted a continuance and rescheduled the trial, as well as waived Lucas' right to speedy trial.

"I do feel like he is a very fair judge. I just wish these delays weren't necessary or weren't allowed to happen and I definitely don't want to go through a second trial or a mistrial," said Saxton.

A five week jury trial will begin January 14, 2020 at 8:30am.

"I know going home after this is over these two days there will be very down periods. There always is. It's always hard to kind of get back on your feet after this so I just have to find that strength somewhere," said Saxton.