Football Game Delays Trial

It sounds worse than it is: The trial of a man accused of helping kill gay college student Matthew Shepard has to wait because of a football game.

But no slight is intended. The reality is that fans who are attending the big Oct. 23 night game - when the University of Wyoming football team is playing its rival, Colorado State - have grabbed up all available motel rooms for that weekend. That means there's no place to house a jury for Aaron McKinney's trial.

"We have no place to sequester the jury before Oct. 25," court spokesman Allen Johnson said Thursday.

McKinney, 22, is accused of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated robbery in the death of Shepard. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Court officials had set aside up to two weeks for jury selection. The process is ahead of schedule, but the lack of available beds to sequester a jury means opening statements can't be moved up from the original date, Oct. 25.

Fifteen potential jurors were excused Thursday, leaving the court 11 shy of the 48 needed for the last phase of jury selection. Nineteen prospects were to be questioned Friday.