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July 27, 2014

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Attorneys question jurors in Luxor bombing case

Jury selection continues today in the trial of two men charged in a pipe bomb explosion in the Luxor hotel-casino parking garage in May 2007, which left a 24-year-old hot dog stand employee dead.

Attorneys are quizzing jurors on their responses to a 47-question, 10-page questionnaire to seat a panel of 12 and two alternates from a jury pool of more than 100 in the trial of Omar Rueda-Denvers and Porfirio Duarte-Herrera.

The men have been charged with attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, malicious destruction of private property, possession of an explosive or incindiary device during the commission of a felony, murder with use of a deadly weapon, manufacture and/or possession of an explosive or incindiary device and possession of a component of an explosive device.

The charges stem from a May 7, 2007, incident in which an explosive device placed on the roof of a vehicle in the Luxor parking garage was detonated. Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio was injured in the explosion and later died from his injuries.

Both Rueda-Denvers and Duarte-Herrera have pleaded not guilty, but prosecutors say both men made detailed confessions. They're accused of plotting to kill Dorantes Antonio because he was dating Rueda-Denvers' ex-girlfriend.

Attorneys have focused their questions on jurors' attitudes toward the death penalty, a sentence either man could face if found guilty. There are four possible punishments the jury can dole out if the men are found guilty. Other possibilities include life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, or a term of 100 years with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Jurors also were asked if they would be able to review the evidence and testimony presented in the case as it applies to each defendant individually.

At the start of questioning this morning, District Court Judge Michael Villani reviewed the synopsis of the case with the jury pool. He emphasized that the synopsis was not evidence and jurors were not permitted to use it to formulate an opinion on the guilt or innocence of the defendants.

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