The break in the case came when an Ohio woman named Sheryl Sawyers saw an artist’s sketch of the girl, believed it was her granddaughter Riley and called authorities.
Trenor had moved with Riley from Mentor, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, to Texas in June 2007 to be with Zeigler, whom she met playing an online game, World of Warcraft.
Riley’s murder and its investigation got much media coverage and both prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to thoroughly question the 150 member jury pool. Jury selection was expected to take a day with opening statements on Tuesday.
“No matter how big and tough you are, the death of a child grabs you a little bit more,” said Tim Miller, director of Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer search organization that helped in the investigation.
Trenor could receive an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder. The jury could also convict her of a lesser charge.
Trenor pleaded guilty last week to a charge of evidence tampering and will be sentenced for that after her murder trial.
Prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty against either her or Zeigler, 25, because they didn’t think they could prove that the pair would be a future danger, a requirement for such a punishment.
In June 2008, Trenor gave birth to a boy, Shawn, while awaiting trial. The baby is living in the Dallas area with distant relatives of Trenor, who relinquished her parental rights. Zeigler has not relinquished his rights, child welfare officials said.