Jury selection for third Stanley Liggins trial underway

WATERLOO, Iowa – Jury selection for the third Stanley Liggins trial began Tuesday morning, August 28.

Liggins, age 56, was on trial for the 1990 murder of a nine-year-old girl from Rock Island, Jennifer Lewis.  He was charged with first-degree murder.

More than 160 people were called to potentially serve on the jury.  Once the court whittles that group down to a jury of 12 with three alternates, trial can begin.

Liggins, from Davenport, has stood trial twice before in the murder case.  The Associated Press reports that he was convicted in 1993 in Scott County Court; the conviction was later overturned.  The second trial was held in Dubuque, where Liggins was again convicted of murder.

After filing several motions requesting a new trial, the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in 2013, granting Liggins a third trial.   They ruled that Liggins did not get a fair trial in Dubuque because defense attorneys were not told that one of the prosecution's witnesses was a paid police informant.

Previous reports indicate that Lewis’ body was found near Jefferson Elementary School on September 17, 1990, just days before her 10th birthday. Her body was found in a plastic garbage bag that had been set on fire.  She had reportedly been abused and strangled.

Jennifer Lewis (WQAD archive pho

The third trial in the case was moved to Black Hawk County Court, in Waterloo, Iowa to avoid pre-trial publicity.  Opening statements were set to begin once a jury was selected.

The trial was expected to last up to four weeks.