Oct 23, 2009 11:38 AM by David Ortiviz

Homecoming queen candidate wants second chance

On Thursday some students went online and learned shocking revelations about a 60-year old woman who is running for homecoming queen at CSU-Pueblo. News First 5 has learned she has a very violent past.

Juanita Whitaker allegedly shot three people, killing one woman, at a Denver women's shelter in 1989. Whitaker was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The Rocky Mountain News reported at the time, Whitaker blamed the rampage on a computer chip her ex-husband planted in her brain.

"I'm sure we've all done things that we've rather not have done and made mistakes in our past, but this is my second chance," said Juanita Whitaker.

Whitaker says she's changed her life around, and has even joined non-profit groups that help the disabled and mentally ill. "I try to be an ambassador and advocate for people that need help," she said.

CSU-Pueblo says Whitaker met all the requirements to run for homecoming queen, including good grades. The university says there is no reason to disqualify her.

Whitaker is running against two other students, one of those a gay man. At CSU-Pueblo it's up to students to decide to run for homecoming king or queen and the nomination form requires fifty signatures.

The homecoming election was held on campus Thursday. Results will be announced on Saturday.

On Thursday afternoon, Cora Zaletel the Executive Director of External Affairs at CSU-Pueblo issued this statement regarding the candidates for homecoming royalty:

"Any student in good standing who meets the eligibility requirements can run for the posts and the student voters will decide who they want to have represent them.  All of the students are good students and meet the requirements. If any candidate had any past dealings with the justice system, we trust that the justice system is the appropriate venue for resolution of those issues and we will not interject ourselves into those decisions unless we think members of our University community are at risk and we have no reason to believe that is the case.  All candidates have conducted themselves very well during the time they have been enrolled as students. As an institution of higher education, we respect the fact that students often come here seeking to turn their lives around and to make positive strides.  All of these candidates are people with great potential, and we view it as our mission to help them reach that potential."

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