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Rodriguez murder trial postponed due to COVID-19
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Rodriguez murder trial postponed due to COVID-19

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Rodriguez prelim

Gilberto Rodriguez speaks with his attorney, Keith Roark, Friday, April 26, during his preliminary hearing in Cassia County Magistrate Court on first-degree murder charges.

BURLEY — Cassia County District Court canceled a Sept. 9 jury trial for Gilberto Rodriguez after the Idaho Supreme Court said jury trials can’t resume because of COVID-19.

Rodriguez is accused of first degree murder of 14-year-old Regina Krieger in 1995, according to court records.

Krieger, who had disappeared from her basement bedroom, was later found dead on the banks of the nearby Snake River. Rodriguez was charged with her death in 2019.

His trial was vacated after the district court received an order from the Idaho Supreme Court, which said that due to the continuing rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Idaho, jurors can not be required to appear in court until at least Sept. 14 for criminal cases and Dec. 1 for civil cases.

The Cassia court planed to call 569 potential jurors to the courthouse this week to complete jury questionnaires.

The order also says people age 65 or older will be excused from jury service if the person indicates they wish to be excused on the COVID-19 questionnaire.

The order, dated July 24, also states that when trials resume, all people entering the courtroom will be screened with a temperature check and questions regarding known exposure to the virus and recent symptoms.

Anyone exhibiting risk will be denied entrance to the courtroom.

The order also outlines other safety precautions that will be taken by the court.

A status hearing in the Rodriguez case is set at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in Cassia County District Court.

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