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Peter Khill leaves a Hamilton court Monday as jury selection begins for his trial on a charge of second-degree murder. (Dan Taekema/CBC) Jury selection for the trial of Peter Khill began Monday with approximately 250 people crowded into an Hamilton courtroom, filling the seats and standing three-deep in the aisles. Chief of Six Nations calls for Indigenous jury members as trial with echoes of Colten Boushie case begins

That group will eventually be whittled down to the 12 people who will consider whether or not Khill, a millwright and former reservist, is guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Jon Styres, a First Nations man who was shot in Feb. 2016.

Khill told court Monday he intends to plead not guilty to the charge. Jurors asked about racial bias

The day started with Assistant Cown Attorney Steve O’Brien, the prosecutor, asking Justice Stephen Glithero for permission to question prospective jurors about bias based on the fact the deceased person was Indigenous and the accused person is white. Glithero asked asking Khill’s lawyer, Jeff Manishen, if he objected.

When he did not, the judge approved the specific language of the question.

The ability to ask that question is a key issues for members of the Indigenous community keeping an eye on how the trial is handled by the legal system. Hamilton police cruisers sit outside the home on Highway 56 in Glanbrook where the body of Jon Styres was found. (Tucker Wilson/CBC) The case has echoes of the one that involved the shooting death of Indigenous man Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan. In that case, a reportedly all-white jury in Saskatchewan reached a not-guilty verdict against the accused Gerald Stanley.

Ava Hill, Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River, says she will be watching the selection closely to make sure the "same mistakes," around the legal process that were criticized after that trial aren’t made again.

So far, four jurors have been selected for the Khill trial. Another 40 people are expected to be questioned this afternoon.

MORE TO COME.

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