Jury in Hastings trial seated | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jury in Hastings trial seated

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 5:16 PM

The jury has been seated in the trial of Josh Hastings, the former Little Rock Police Department officer charged with manslaughter for the August 2012 shooting death of a 15-year-old boy during a burglary call at a West Little Rock apartment complex.

Hastings shot Bobby Moore, Jr. as Moore and two other teens attempted to flee in a Honda Civic from the parking lot of the Shadow Lake Apartments complex at 13111 W. Markham, where Hastings had been dispatched to investigate a car burglary.

Hastings told investigators he fired because the car was speeding to him and he feared for his life, but further investigation produced discrepancies between Hastings' account and the evidence.

David Koon reports that nine women and three men make up the jury. Opening statements are scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

After the jury was dismissed, Judge Wendell Griffen reveresed his ruling from yesterday that attorneys wouldn't be allowed to cross examine the two juveniles who were in the car with Moore when he was killed regarding the fact that they were on probation at the time. Griffen said attorneys can cross examine the witnesses on their probation, but can only refer to their probation to challenge credibility and on issues of "bias or motive." He said attorneys can't use their probation to establish state of mind at the time of the shooting or establish character. Why the juveniles were on probation or prior offenses they may have been convicted of are off limites too, Griffen said.

Opening arguments were thought to be starting this afternoon, but the trial was slowed when chief deputy prosecutor John Johnson requested striking one of the jurors after he'd been selected during the alternate selection. Koon reports that victim Bobby Moore's father approached the Victim Witness Coordinator and told her that one of the jurors and his brother worked with him for the city of Little Rock. Moore's father claimed that the juror's brother had made racially charged statements. After recessing to deliberate on whether a juror could be struck after being chosen but before being sworn, Griffen allowed lawyers to question the juror to determine if he should be struck. The juror denied knowing Moore's relatives. He was dismissed.

Griffen said he didn't dismiss him for cause, explaining that just because relatives might say things that are "intolerant and abhorrent," doesn't mean a relative holds those views. Griffen said he allowed Johnson to exercise the last of his preemptory challenges. Defense attorney Bill James objected to the juror's dismissal.

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