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Trial delayed for West Allis man accused of killing ex-girlfriend with butcher knife

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Crystal Leopold

MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- A family will have to wait until November before the man accused of killing their loved one stands trial for her murder. The victim filed for a protection order days before she was stabbed to death with a butcher knife.

Not enough jurors met the criteria needed to fill a jury panel for the trial of 28-year-old Emmanuel Sanchez.

The West Allis man is charged in connection with the murder of his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Crystal Leopold. He faces one count of first degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon and one count of knowingly violating a domestic abuse injunction, domestic abuse assessments.

"She just had a heart for everybody. She cared a lot for everybody," said Tiffany Fischer, Leopold's older sister.

During  jury selection on Tuesday, July 17, there were also multiple scheduling conflicts with witnesses and attorneys that forced the trial to be pushed to November -- a frustrating outcome for Leopold's family.

Emmanuel Sanchez

Crystal Leopold

"I know that everybody gets a fair trial and how the justice system works, but at the same time, it's frustrating," said Natasha Leopold, Crystal Leopold's sister.

Prosecutors say in August of 2017, Sanchez broke into his ex-girlfriend's home. The two share one child, according to her family.

Witnesses in the apartment heard the victim "screaming for help." One of them fought Sanchez and chased him out. The victim was found standing in the kitchen with a butcher knife sticking out of her chest. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"He does deserve a fair trial. We do agree on that, and I do want to see the right outcome," said Natasha Leopold.

Emmanuel Sanchez

The victim's family is now using their tragedy to help others.

"Be more aware of domestic violence. Speak to people when there is a situation going on," said Fischer.

They're now left holding onto the memories of a joyful sister and mother who cared about her family.

"I never suspected this would happen to my child. I miss her so much," said Cassandra Cunningham, Crystal Leopold's mother.

An attorney representing Sanchez in court said he would not be making a comment on behalf of his client Tuesday, but he may as the trial progresses.

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