Zellmer trial delayed, set for next March

Judge approves delay in Thornton murder case

Posted 10/2/18

A juvenile accused of killing a 10-year-old Thornton girl in June 2017 won’t go to trial until March 2019, a judge ruled Sept. 27. Judge Sharon Holbrook granted a continuance to the defense team …

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Zellmer trial delayed, set for next March

Judge approves delay in Thornton murder case

Posted

A juvenile accused of killing a 10-year-old Thornton girl in June 2017 won’t go to trial until March 2019, a judge ruled Sept. 27.

Judge Sharon Holbrook granted a continuance to the defense team representing Aidan Zellmer, giving it time to work with a consulting defense witness. The trial was tentatively scheduled to begin next month.

Zellmer is accused of killing Kiaya Campbell, the daughter of his mother’s boyfriend, in June 2017. Zellmer was 15 at the time, and Campbell 10.

Holbrook told a small group of Campbell’s family that attended the Sept. 27 hearing that she expected they would be disappointed by the delay.

“But I’m going to tell you what I tell all families in my courtroom,” Holbrook said. “The result of this trial should be final and not create issues that might allow it to be overturned or cause other issues.”

Zellmer was arraigned in Adams County District Court in March. He faces first-degree murder charges and will be tried as an adult.

But Holbrook said the trial will not be treated like a strict adult trial since both the victim and the accused were juveniles. The trial will be open to the public, but Holbrook said it’s important to limit publicity surrounding the case in the interest of putting together an unbiased jury.

She said the case is being suppressed, which means the public and media are welcome to attend the trial, but it will not be published in court docket lists or appear in guides around the courthouse.

The trial is set for March 11-22, with the first two days devoted to seating a jury, said Holbrook, who is scheduled to hear arguments about calling defense witnesses at an Oct. 12 motions hearing.

What happened

Campbell disappeared June 7, 2017 while walking to a Thornton shopping area near 136th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard with Zellmer, the 15-year-old son of her father’s girlfriend.

Police said they were told Campbell and Zellmer had left her father’s house near 124th and Forest Drive before 9 p.m. June 7 but were separated during a rainstorm at about the 12900 block of Colorado Boulevard.

Police began searching for the girl the next morning, stopping traffic in and out of the father’s neighborhood, searching cars and concentrating on canals, ditches and lakes in the area.

They issued an Amber Alert and volunteers gathered to help with a walking search. Police called off the search when the girl’s body was found near 128th and Jasmine Court — roughly two miles east of where Campbell was last seen and about a mile from her father’s Thornton home, according to police.

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