By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — Prosecutors rested their case Monday and the defense began calling its witnesses, which the lead attorney has said will include the white fired police officer facing murder charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorist after a traffic stop in Ohio.
The trial of former University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing, 26, began Monday morning with the judge assuring jurors she wanted to protect their privacy, after allowing a worried alternate juror to leave the case.
“I want you to feel safe,” Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan said.
The trial was interrupted Friday over jury concerns that 25-page questionnaires they filled out on a variety of topics could be made public due to news media public records requests. Shanahan said Monday she has reversed her order that would have allowed partially redacted questionnaires released during the trial.
The judge had ordered the jurors’ identities shielded before the trial began.
As they wrapped up their case, prosecutors called a series of witnesses who collected or examined evidence after the fatal shooting of Sam DuBose, 43. Tensing, who was fired after the shooting, is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 2015 slaying.
Several prosecution witnesses said they didn’t find evidence to support Tensing’s claim that he feared being dragged to death when DuBose tried to drive away, while initial defense witnesses — police officers who arrived at the scene — described Tensing as looking shocked and scared.
University of Cincinnati police officer Jeffrey Van Pelt testified Tensing appeared “white as a ghost.”
A firearms expert testified for the prosecution that Tensing fired his .40-caliber Sig Sauer service revolver between 1 and 2 feet from DuBose’s head, and a deputy coroner said the gunshot severed DuBose’s brain stem, causing immediate fatal injury.
Testimony for the day ended Monday afternoon. The trial will continue Tuesday, on Election Day. Both Judge Shanahan and lead Prosecutor Joe Deters are Republicans seeking re-election against Democratic challengers.
Court sessions have been ending at 1 p.m. EST each day.
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