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Jury selection underway in murder trial for Donthe Lucas, accused of killing Kelsie Schelling

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 20:04:34-05

PUEBLO, Colo. — After several delays over the past few years, the first-degree murder trial for Donthe Lucas, the man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, 21-year-old Kelsie Schelling, in 2013, got underway Monday with jury selection in a Pueblo County courtroom.

Lucas was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Schelling’s disappearance, which police said they were treating as a homicide, in December 2017. He was already in custody at the time on separate charges after he was arrested in November 2017 at Denver International Airport in a robbery and assault case out of Pueblo.

Schelling disappeared Feb. 4, 2013, after driving from her home in Denver down to Pueblo to meet Lucas. She was eight weeks pregnant with Lucas’s child when she vanished.

The only trace of the 21-year-old pregnant woman left behind was her abandoned car, found several days later at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo. Police are calling her disappearance a homicide though her body has never been found.

A 2015 lawsuit, filed by Schelling's parents and later dropped, contained detailed police records showing at 11:39 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013, Lucas was seen at a Pueblo bank, where he allegedly withdrew $400 with Schelling’s debit card. Not long afterward, Walmart surveillance video showed him dropping Schelling’s car off and being picked up.

Police have searched multiple locations in the Pueblo area over the past several years since she has been missing, but authorities have not said if they found anything of value. Her family is offering $100,000 for any information that could ultimately lead to her body being recovered.

“I have no doubt that Donthe – her boyfriend, the father of her child – is responsible for her disappearance,” Schelling's mother told Denver7 in a previous interview. “I can’t sleep at night. I hope he can’t either.”

Lucas pleaded not guilty to the murder charges during a 2018 arraignment. He is being held without bond on the murder charge. Opening statements are expected to begin on Feb. 3, one day before the eight-year anniversary of Schelling's disappearance.