Trial of woman accused of killing mom near Gypsum moved because of problems seating jury

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EAGLE, Colorado — A woman accused of killing her mother in a remote area near Gypsum will be tried in Clear Creek County because of problems seating a jury in Eagle County.

The jury pool for Traci Cunningham's trial dwindled from 136 to 36 people after two days of jury selection. Then, during the final round of selection Wednesday, at least six people asked to be excused for hardships, The Vail Daily (http://bit.ly/1NWNpDN ) reported. Less than a half hour later, Judge Russell Granger then dismissed everyone and moved the trial, rescheduling it for Aug. 17.

Several prospective jurors said taking three weeks off from work could ruin their jobs or businesses while others cited childcare problems. Jurors are paid $50 a day but only reimbursed $3 for childcare expenses. Some also said they already had vacations scheduled for next week's spring break for local schools.

One of Cunningham's defense attorneys, Cynthia Jones, said she was concerned about the failure to seat 12 jurors and two alternates.

"It is critical. It is the foundation of our judicial system," she said of jury service.

Prosecutors say Cunningham drove her mother, Penelope Cunningham, to a spot 15 miles south of Gypsum on Thanksgiving 2013 and shot her.

According to court documents told investigators she didn't remember shooting her mother but did recall standing in the road with a gun in her left hand.

Cunningham's lawyers say she was a victim of abuse and suffers from PTSD and bipolar disorder.

A 2012 Eagle County murder trial was also moved to Clear Creek County but that was at the request of lawyers for suspect Rossi Moreau. He was convicted of killing one man and wounding four others at a West Vail bar and restaurant.


Information from: Vail Daily, http://www.vaildaily.com/

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