The second murder trial for a man accused of the brutal stabbing death of a 43-year-old Janesville woman in 2017 is set to begin next week after a final pretrial hearing Tuesday in Rock County Circuit Court.
Julian D. Collazo, 24, will be tried for the Dec. 9, 2017, death of Christine H. Scaccia-Lubeck, who was found dead in her home with multiple stab wounds.
The first trial in the case in October 2019 ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The COVID-19 pandemic stalled the second trial from getting underway sooner.
Judge Barbara McCrory said Tuesday the trial would be held at the Rock County Courthouse instead of the Rock County Job Center as previously planned. Improving COVID-19 conditions and increasing vaccination rates in the area is allowing court proceedings to return to the courthouse.
Jury selection also is set to take place at the courthouse. McCrory announced that the jury would not be sequestered, regardless of the previous trial’s stalemate and mitigating circumstances.
“We’ve had no issues with jurors listening or following through,” McCrory said. “Since reopening, our jurors have been stellar. People take this job very seriously. People have now had to show up for three or four selections and have been nothing but appropriate.”
Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary said the state plans to call 14 witnesses and provide a litany of physical and video evidence exhibits during the anticipated weeklong trial. O’Leary added he expects that the state’s case could rest after Wednesday, depending on jury selection.
“That’s the biggest and most wild unknown right now,” O’Leary said.
Scaccia-Lubeck was found in her bedroom with 33 knife wounds at the end of a trail of blood that led from the bathroom down a short hallway, the criminal complaint against Collazo states.
Police don’t know how long Scaccia-Lubeck and Collazo knew each other or how they met, authorities said.
The complaint indicates Scaccia-Lubeck told her mother she “had a friend over” at her house the night of Dec. 7, 2017, according to the complaint.
Scaccia-Lubeck told her sister in a phone conversation that “she had someone over” and talked about going out to one or more bars, according to the complaint.
Collazo took Scaccia-Lubeck’s vehicle and picked up Nicole R. Kazar, 23, at a gas station, according to Kazar’s statements included in the complaint. Kazar was sentenced to probation for her involvement in the case and has been subpoenaed as a state’s witness, O’Leary confirmed.
Kazar told investigators she had met Collazo five or six days earlier at Motel 6 in Janesville prior to the murder. The two stayed at her friend’s house and left Beloit the next morning, with Kazar wanting to go to Mississippi to see her son and Collazo wanting to continue on to Texas to see his family, according to the complaint.
Collazo and Kazar were arrested together in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in the days after the discovery of Scaccia-Lubeck’s body.