Accused in Cusworth murder appears in court

The man accused of killing Nelson’s Jennifer Cusworth in 1993 appeared in court Monday for the start of six weeks of legal proceedings.

Nelson's Jennifer Cusworth was murdered in 1993. The man accused of the crime returned to court this week for the start of his trial.

The man accused of killing Nelson’s Jennifer Cusworth in 1993 appeared in court Monday for the start of six weeks of legal proceedings.

Neil Snelson has been behind bars since his 2009 arrest on the charge of first-degree murder and wore the impact of that experience.

A noticeably thinner and greyer version of the Kelowna man sat before the court as lawyers argued over evidence they’d like to have brought forward during the trial.

There is a publication ban on this portion of the process, which is expected to last around two weeks, according to Crown counsel Iain Currie.

Once the evidence is squared away, a one to two-day jury selection is scheduled to start September 12.

One of the more unique aspects of the process is that jury candidates will be vetted by previously selected jurors.

“The first two jurors will take their place … and then they will decide yes or no,” said Currie, adding he and the defence will have the option to challenge.

“Then we will start the trial as soon as the jury is selected,” said Currie.

He did not say why that unusual process is being used to select jurors.

The trial is expected to last about four weeks, and 47 Crown witnesses are expected to take the stand.

It’s likely to be a closely watched and well attended process. Friends and family of Cusworth have been vigilant about keeping a spotlight on the crime, since October 17, 1993 when the 19-year-old’s body was found on Swamp Road.

Parents Jean and Terry Cusworth made an annual plea that their daughter’s killer come forward and they, along with a healthy support network, have attended all previous legal proceedings.

The family has decided not to speak with media until the trial is over.

Cusworth graduated from L.V. Rogers. Her mother was an elementary school principal in Nelson.

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