Jury Seated For 2nd Trial In Death Of Elijah McClain In 1992


A jury has been seated in the trial of suspended Aurora police officer Nathan Woodyard, accused of wrongdoing in the death of Elijah McClain.

Woodyard’s is the second trial held in Adams County related to McClain’s death. Last week, a jury reached a split verdict for two other Aurora officers, acquitting Jason Rosenblatt and finding Randy Roedema guilty of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree assault.

Woodyard faces a single charge of reckless manslaughter. Opening statements in the trial are expected Tuesday, scheduled for about three weeks.

Woodyard was the first patrol officer to confront McClain, 23, as he walked along an Aurora street on Aug. 24, 2019. He responded to a 911 call describing McClain as “sketchy” because he was wearing a ski mask. He confronted McClain, ordered him to stop, and put his hands on him within nine seconds. Other officers helped him subdue McClain during a struggle. One of the officers alleged that McClain tried to grab a gun during the tussle.

For Woodyard’s trial, the judge, the prosecutors, some witnesses, and much of the evidence from Roedema and Rosenblatt’s trial will be the same.

Two doctors testified at the first trial that using a carotid hold, designed to interrupt the flow of oxygen to the brain, sent McClain into medical distress. He vomited, inhaled some of it, struggled to breathe, and suffered both low blood oxygen and an increased level of acid in his body, according to their testimony.

All of that, those doctors testified, created a dangerous situation – and then the decision by paramedics to inject McClain with the sedative ketamine led to cardiac arrest and, three days later, death.

Woodyard faces a sentence ranging from probation to a maximum of six years in prison if convicted.