Trial underway for man accused of raping, killing 6-year-old Rio Rancho girl

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Jury selection began Monday in the trial for the man accused in the rape and death of a 6-year-old girl.

Ariana “Jade” Romeo was found dead in a Rio Rancho home in August 2018.

The trial for Leland Hust was moved to Sandoval County due to the attention the case was getting in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday.

DNA evidence is expected to be a major part of the trial.

Investigators say they found Hust’s DNA on Ariana’s body.

"Only the experts will be able to discuss the nature of the DNA," Judge George P. Eichwald said. "I anticipate that perhaps the state may ask a question to the effect of ‘during part of your investigation, were you trying to collect DNA evidence.’ Something like that is okay."

Hust reportedly told investigators he didn’t remember anything.

Jurors will also see some but not all of that interrogation.