Jury selection begins in Leah Freeman murder trial

Jury selection begins in Leah Freeman murder trial

COQUILLE, Ore. - Fifteen-year-old Coquille teen Leah Freeman was hanging out with friends on a warm summer night back on June 28, 2000.
    
That was the last time anyone would see her alive.

Nick McGuffin, her boyfriend at the time, told investigators he went to pick her up but never found her.
   
That's when the search began.

"If anybody knows where she is, will you please come forward?" said Leah's mom, Cory Courtright, just days after her disappearance.

Five days later, investigators found a blood splotched shoe belonging to Leah in a cemetery across from Coquille High School.

In the weeks after her disappearance, investigators questioned 18-year-old McGuffin.
    
His car and home were searched and investigators administered a polygraph test, which court documents show he failed.
    
Then on Aug. 3, five weeks after she disappeared, a search team found Freeman's decomposed body down a hill off a dirt road 9 miles east of Coquille.

Police didn't name McGuffin as a suspect and the case went cold - until 2009.
    
Coquille Police Chief Mark Dannels reopened the case after family and community pressure, interviewing hundreds of witnesses.

"There's been some real challenges in a 10 year, we've sought the best to make this happen," he said at a 2009 press conference.

And last August, more than 10 years later, police arrested McGuffin (at right) and charged him with murder.

"It was like finally, finally, finally this happened," said Courtright. "because yeah, I think they got the right guy."

Originally scheduled to start May 9, the trial was pushed back after one of McGuffin's lawyers had a medical emergency.

Jury selection got underway Tuesday at the Coos County Courthouse in Coquille.
    
The trial could start as early as Wednesday, and is expected to last three weeks.

McGuffin was charged with murder, not aggravated murder.

Because of this, the maximum sentence he can receive is life in prison with possibility of parole in 25 years.