Breonna Taylor Jury Selection Reaches End of Phase 1

By DYLAN LOVAN Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Attorneys concluded their individual questioning of potential jurors Friday in the trial of a former Kentucky police officer involved in the raid that left Breonna Taylor dead.

The jury panel for former officer Brett Hankison’s trial was expanded to approximately 250 people due to widespread publicity and massive protests over Taylor’s death in Louisville in the spring and summer of 2020. At the end of by Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed on a group of 48 who passed the first round of questioning.

FILE – This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. Potential juror questioning begins Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, for the trial of a former police officer of Kentucky involved in a botched raid that killed Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician. (Courtesy of Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

On Feb. 22, the 48 will be reduced to 12 jurors and three alternatives, Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith said.

Lawyers and sometimes Smith have been interviewing potential jurors one-by-one since Tuesday to weed out anyone who might be biased on the question of Hankison’s guilt.

“I’m very pleasantly surprised with how the week has gone,” Hankison’s attorney, Stewart Mathews, said Friday. Stewart said he was confident the attorneys would be successful in selecting a jury from the group of 48. Last year, Mathews requested that the trial be moved out of Louisville due to the publicity surrounding the Taylor case, but Smith denied the request.

After finishing with potential jurors on Friday, the attorneys discussed how the trial would proceed. Barbara Maines Whaley, a prosecutor with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, said she plans to call about 30 witnesses to testify. Mathews said both sides would interview many of the same witnesses.

Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who worked as an emergency medical technician, was shot multiple times in a botched narcotics raid on March 13, 2020. No drugs were found in her Louisville apartment and the warrant was used to force entry. later turned out to be defective.

Hankison has not been charged in Taylor’s death, but he faces three counts of wanton endangerment for allegedly firing shots at a neighbor’s apartment. He was fired from the force. Two other officers at the scene with Hankison who fired bullets that struck Taylor have not been charged in his death.

After officers burst in with a narcotics warrant, Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of those officers, Jonathan Mattingly, in the leg. The police returned fire, beating and killing Taylor. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he fired his gun because he feared an intruder was breaking in. Hankison was outside the apartment near a glass door and fired 10 shots.

About Jessica J. Bass

Check Also

July jury rolls released | Court News

The following citizens have been summoned for jury duty in Jackson County Superior Court at …