UPDATE: Six of the 12 jury members seated in Hastings trial
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - After nearly three days of jury selection, a Pulaski County court is halfway done selecting a jury for the manslaughter trial of Josh Hastings.
Just before the court took its final recess Wednesday, six jurors were officially seated by Judge Wendell Griffen of the 5th District Court.
The prosecution and defense each used three strikes to release the other six originally seated in the jury box. Another three were dismissed by Judge Griffen.
Judge Griffen and attorneys finished asking potential jurors about what they had heard about the case through media coverage around 1:30 p.m. and individual juror interviews began, allowing attorneys the opportunity to strike jurors based on their history or family relations.
A lot of questions the potential jurors were asked included if any were related to police officers, if any had a criminal history or were related to anyone with a criminal history. Even though progress was made with the first two batches of potential jurors, a third batch of 118 more potential jurors has been slated to appear in court Thursday along with those still remaining from the first three days.
With the publicity of the case causing some issues in jury selection this week, Hastings' attorney, Bill James, told Channel 7 News he considered requesting the trial be moved elsewhere, but his client decided he wanted it to take place in Pulaski County.
"There was some discussion about it. We actually filed a pleading. We got some about 60 or 70 affidavits saying they thought we would have trouble getting a fair jury here," James said. "We ultimately decided, really at the behest of our client, Josh Hastings, who wanted the trial here. He was an officer here, lived here all his life and wanted to be tried here in Pulaski County."
Hastings shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore III while Moore and two other teens were reportedly breaking into cars in the parking lot of a Little Rock apartment complex on August 12, 2012. Moore died. The other two were charged with breaking and entering.
Hastings first faced a manslaughter charge in June but that trial ended in a mistrial when the jury could not reach a verdict after three days of deliberations.
For comparison, jury selection in that trial took slightly less than two days, but then immediately created controversy. Before the initial jury could be sworn in, prosecutors learned one of them knew a member of Moore's family as well as a member of Hastings' family. That juror was dismissed at the last second over the objection of defense attorney Bill James.
This time around, James has the same mindset as he looks at the faces in that jury box.
"One of my concerns is I want to make sure that we're not getting jurors on this case who want to be on this case. We're seeing a lot of people answering the same way and just and seem to be giving pad answers," James explained. "That's always dangerous in a case like this where it's high-publicity, people want to be on it. You just have to look out for those folks."
The final makeup of the jury in that first trial included nine women and three men. None of them were African-American. Both of the alternates were white women.
Of the six chosen so far in this trial, there are two black females, two white females and two white males.
KATV's Justin Lewis will be back inside the courtroom again on Thursday. You can follow him on Twitter at @JustinLewisKATV for live updates all day.
Jury selection underway for retrial of ex-LRPD officer (Sept. 16)
Day 2 of jury selection in Josh Hastings manslaughter trial (Sept. 17)