ADEL — July selection began Monday morning in the murder trial of Carlos Hernandez-Ventura, 26, the Perry man charged in the deaths last fall of Lourdes Flor De Maria Leake, 34, Melany Elizabeth Barraza, 14, and Juan Jimenez Tejeda, 78, all of Perry.
Wearing khaki trousers and a long-sleeve, button-down shirt, Hernandez-Ventura appeared before Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Paul R. Huscher about 10 a.m.
Assistant Dallas County Attorneys Sean Wieser and Erica Clark represented the state at the proceedings, asking prospective jurors whether they knew any of the parties or had heard anything about the crime.
A pool of about 70 potential jurors was selected for the trial, which Wieser noted was a larger number than for most cases.
Court-appointed interpreters translated the proceedings into Spanish for Hernandez-Ventura. According to court documents, the defendant can read and write in Spanish, having received a sixth-grade education in his native country of El Salvador.
Judge Huscher told the potential jurors he expects the case to take about eight days to hear.
Jill Eimermann, assistant public defender in the Special Defense Unit of the Iowa Public Defenders office, and Mike Adams, chief public defender in the Special Defense Unit of the Iowa Public Defenders office, are defending Hernandez-Ventura.
Hernandez-Ventura allegedly used a machete to kill Leake and Barraza in the Oct. 29, 2016, murders. Jimenez died Nov. 12 of injuries received in the same brutal October attack.
Jury selection will continue Tuesday.