Jury selection moving swiftly in Breonna Taylor-related case

Feb 9, 2022, 12:28 PM | Updated: 4:07 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jury selection is moving swiftly in the trial of a former Kentucky police officer involved in the botched drug raid that left Breonna Taylor dead, despite concerns that intense publicity would make it hard to seat a jury in Taylor’s hometown.

Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison has been charged with firing shots that went into an apartment next door to Taylor’s just before 1 a.m. on March 13, 2020. Hankison was the only officer charged in the case, though the three wanton endangerment charges are not related to Taylor’s shooting death.

The jury pool was expanded to about 250 people because of Taylor’s widely publicized shooting and massive street protests in Louisville in 2020. Attorneys began questioning prospective jurors one by one on Tuesday. They’re trying to determine who might be biased on the question of Hankison’s guilt.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith indicated Wednesday morning that the selection was moving along more efficiently than expected.

“Yesterday, I was hoping we got six (potential) jurors through; we got eleven,” Smith said.

Smith has said she wants to use the individual questioning process to whittle the pool down to 50 candidates who have shown they can be impartial about the high-profile case. By the end of the day Wednesday, a total of 22 prospective jurors had been retained: 13 men and nine women. The process was initially expected to take multiple weeks, but could finish in a few days.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency medical technician, was shot multiple times during the narcotics raid. No drugs were found in her apartment, and the warrant used to enter by force was later found to be flawed. The case also shined a light on the use of “no knock” warrants, which were later banned in Louisville.

Two other officers on the scene with Hankison who fired bullets that struck Taylor were not charged in her death.

Hankison’s attorney, Stewart Mathews, filed a motion last year to have the trial moved but Smith denied it. The judge said she wants to try to find a jury in Louisville before considering other options.

Ahead of the start of jury selection on Tuesday, Mathews reentered his motion to have the trial moved, arguing that questionnaires filled out by many prospective jurors displayed bias and a misunderstanding of Hankison’s case. The judge quickly denied that motion.

On Wednesday, the first three prospective jurors questioned by attorneys were retained. Some jury candidates have been asked about their experience with firearms; their opinion of Louisville police and whether their jobs or personal lives would interfere with them serving on a jury. Two prospective jurors who have said they believe Hankison is guilty have been dismissed.

Most people questioned have heard of Taylor’s case, though many said they were not familiar with the nature of Hankison’s charges.

Hankison was fired in 2020 and accused of “blindly” firing into Taylor’s apartment by police officials after he moved to Taylor’s sliding door as other officers were at the front door.

After officers burst in, Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that struck one of those officers, Jonathan Mattingly, in the leg. Officers returned fire, striking Taylor. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he feared an intruder was breaking into Taylor’s ground floor apartment.

Three of Hankison’s shots went into a neighboring apartment, endangering those residents, prosecutors said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


This photo shows a Spotted Lanternfly, in Long Branch, NJ, Aug. 7, 2022. Kill-on-sight requests in ...
Associated Press

See it? Squish it! Fighting the invasive spotted lanternfly

When Stephen Nixon recently noticed a “beautiful” spotted lanternfly by his bag as he skateboarded in Brooklyn, he heeded the request of city officials. He stomped on it. “I don’t like killing things. Not many people do. I’ll catch and release cockroaches if I find them in my apartment,” Nixon said. “But this seems like […]
5 hours ago
Olga Rudneva walks along the edge of a crater Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, from a rocket strike yesterd...
Associated Press

2 Russian villages evacuated after fire at munitions depot

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The residents of two villages in Russia’s Belgorod region on Ukraine’s northeastern border were evacuated after a fire at a munitions depot near the village of Timonovo. The fire is the latest in a series of destructive incidents on Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine or inside Russia itself. Roughly 1,100 people reside […]
5 hours ago
In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President ...
Associated Press

US lawmakers meet detained Philippine opposition leader

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who was once banned from the Philippines by former President Rodrigo Duterte, on Friday met a long-detained Filipino opposition leader, whom he says was wrongfully imprisoned under Duterte and should be freed. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and a group of U.S. legislators met former Sen. Leila […]
5 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House, Aug. 10, 202...
Associated Press

Biden to host unity summit against hate-fueled violence

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden will host a White House summit next month aimed at combating a spate of hate-fueled violence in the U.S., as he works to deliver on his campaign pledge to “heal the soul of the nation.” The White House announced Friday that Biden will host the United We Stand […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

China jails Canadian tycoon for 13 years for finance crimes

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese-born Canadian tycoon who disappeared from Hong Kong in 2017 was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison for a multibillion-dollar string of financial offenses and his company was fined $8.1 billion, a court announced. Xiao Jianhua was convicted of misusing billions of dollars of deposits from banks and insurers controlled […]
5 hours ago
Cracks in dried mud are seen on a portion of the dry riverbed of the Jialing River in southwestern ...
Associated Press

Yangtze shrinks as China’s drought disrupts industry

CHONGQING, China (AP) — Ships crept down the middle of the Yangtze on Friday after China’s driest summer in six decades left one of the mightiest rivers barely half its normal width and set off a scramble to contain the damage to a weak economy in a politically sensitive year. Factories in Sichuan province and […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Jury selection moving swiftly in Breonna Taylor-related case