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Trial in deadly attack of University of Texas freshman to last no longer than 2 weeks

A judge ruled that the suspect's trial may not last longer than two weeks. Meechaiel Criner is accused of killing an 18-year-old University of Texas at Austin student in 2016.

AUSTIN -- A judge has mandated that the capital murder trial for the man accused of killing a University of Texas student in 2016 may not last longer than two weeks, according to KVUE's media partners at the Austin-American Statesman.

The Statesman said the suspect, Meechaiel Criner, appeared in court July 2 to clear up some remaining legal matters before his trial begins July 9.

The body of murder victim, Haruka Weiser, 18, was found on the eastern edge of the campus two years ago. Criner has been imprisoned ever since. The case garnered national attention because it was the first murder on the main UT campus in more than 40 years.

Last month -- a state district judge dismissed DNA evidence that prosecutors had been planning to use against Criner at his trial. Judge David Wahlberg said a DNA analyst did not follow proper testing procedures, and as a result, he tossed out a major piece of the DNA evidence that authorities believe connects Criner to Haruka's death.

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Criner is not only accused of murdering the UT dance freshman and discarding her body in Waller Creek, he's also suspected of sexually assaulting her. Officials said Weiser was on her way home from dance practice when she was attacked.

Criner is not pleading guilty to the crime, and because he was under the age of 18 at the time of the deadly attack, the death penalty is off the table. Although, if convicted, he does face the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story previously stated that jury selection began July 2. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday, July 9.

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