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Villegas’ wife expecting 3rd child as he gets ready for 3rd murder trial

Daniel Villegas was back in court Friday morning for the final hearing before the start of his third murder trial.

Jury selection is set to begin on July 9th with the trial beginning the following the day on July 10th.

Villegas is accused of shooting and killing two teenagers back in 1993. He was 16 years old at the time of the murders and claims an El Paso Police detective coerced him into a confession.

Villegas’ first trial ended in a mistrial after jurors couldn’t reach a verdict, but after his second trial in 1995, Villegas was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Villegas’ attorneys appealed the ruling and , in 2013, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a retrial.

In 2014, Judge Sam Medrano, who presides over the 409th District Court, ruled police detectives violated Villegas’ civil rights when they allegedly threatened and intimidated him to confess to the murders.

Villegas was subsequently released on bond after spending 18 years in prison.

At Friday’s hearing, both sides requested that the jury be sequestered for the duration of the trial.

Judge Medrano said the court is looking into hotel availability and that he will make a decision on the sequestering of the jury by next week.

After the hearing, Villegas declined to speak with reporters, but ABC-7 did speak with his attorney, Joe Spencer. The challenge for both the prosecution and defense will be seating a jury that hasn’t heard about the Villegas case.

“It’s okay for jurors to have heard about the case, they just can not form an opinion about it,” Spencer said. “We really want the jury to just look at the evidence and we’re challenging the state to marshal their evidence because they don’t have any evidence against Daniel.”

Spencer also talked about the toll it’s taken on Villegas, his client once again having to go through a trial 23 years after he was convicted and 4 years after he was released on bond.

“He’s been an emotional wreck. It’s been taxing on him and his family to try to get on with his life,” Spencer said. “There isn’t a time that he tells me that he doesn’t lay in bed and he thinks about his family and he looks over at his son and his wife and then he realizes, ‘I still have this trial I have to deal with.”

Spencer also said that Villegas’ wife is expecting their 3rd child on July 9th, the day before his trial is scheduled to begin.

The prosecution did not wish to comment about the case after Friday’s hearing.

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