UPDATE: Jury selection underway for retrial of for ex-LRPD officer
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Jury selection began Monday morning for a former Little Rock police officer charged with manslaughter in a teenager's death.
Josh Hastings is charged in the shooting death of 15-year-old Bobby Moore, III.
The court has set aside three weeks for the trial, though Judge Wendell Griffen said he does not actually expect it to last that long.
The potential jury pool started with 62 people. By 11:30 a.m., 21 had been excused, most citing work-related issues that kept them from being able to commit to a trial for three weeks.
Of the 41 remaining in the pool of potential jurors, 19 said they had neither heard nor read anything about the case.
The remaining 22 were called up to the bench one-by-one to detail what they knew about the case and whether or not they could remain unbiased during trial if chosen to serve on the jury. Seven of them were dismissed Monday, leaving the pool of potential jurors at just 34. Officials told KATV another 62 will be added to the pool Tuesday morning as jury selection continues.
Defense Attorney Bill James told Channel 7 News Monday afternoon that jury selection is one of the most crucial parts of the trial and while race was mentioned a lot in the original jury selection process, he just wants honest people.
"Well, it certainly takes the whole jury into account," James said. "Then again, honesty is the issue. If someone can look at the facts and decide the law and be honest about it, that's all you need. It doesn't matter what color they are, it just matters if they can be honest."
One new development Monday during jury selection was that the legal teams announced both of the teenagers with Moore the day of his death will testify in this trial.
Judge Wendell Griffen has repeatedly refused to recuse himself from the case, even though Hastings' lawyer, Bill James, asked him to do so.
Griffen also said Hastings' attorneys can't present evidence that suggests Moore and his two friends who were with him had gang ties. Griffen has said the slain teen and his friends are not on trial.KATV's Justin Lewis will be back inside courtroom again Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter at @JustinLewisKATV for LIVE updates all day long.