Jury selection underway for the murder of a Burlington teen

Trial begins for one of two men charged with killing Kedarie Johnson

Keokuk, Iowa. - Attorneys are working to get a jury in place for one to men accused of killing a Burlington teen last year.

Kedarie Johnson was found in an alley on March 2, 2016.

Prosecutors have charged 23-year-old Jorge Sanders-Galvez and Jaron Purham with first-degree murder for shooting the 16-year-old. 

Today, the trial for Sanders-Galvez gets underway, with more than 50 possible jurors. Attorneys began the process to narrow that down to 12 along with three alternates for the trial expected to last two weeks.

Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers expected the process to last through Wednesday, Oct. 25. 

The trial will take place at the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk. It was the second change of venue according to court records, with it initially moved from Des Moines County to Henry County Iowa. 

This case is also gaining national attention after U.S. Department of Justice Attorney Christopher Perras was added to the procession. Johnson was described as gender-fluid, identifying as male and female. 

Perras is also looking at possible federal hate crime charges in the case.

While the trial goes on almost an hour away from Burlington, the death of Johnson is said to have brought the community together.

Harmony Bible Church pastor Nathan Williams said, "When you see a community, black, white, Christian, non-Christian, it doesn't make any difference who you are, coming together to sort of say what happen to Kedarie is not right."

Nathan Williams says Johnson was a regular at a teen center organized by Harmony Bible Church remembers the teen as the life of the party, an outgoing person and a willingness to help others.

Williams said, "What has happened to Kedarie is not right. Who Kedarie is, what he stood for, gives nobody the right to bring out violence or judge somebody in that way."

Purham is currently in jail in Missouri on unrelated charges. 

 


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