Prosecution, Defense gear up for second Josh Hastings manslaughter trial
(KATV) The trial for former Little Rock officer, Josh Hastings will stay in Pulaski County. The request was withdrawn by the defense Monday morning.
In 2012, Josh Hastings was charged with manslaughter in the death of 15-year old Bobby Moore later fired from the force. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
Monday, August 27, both attorneys had a chance to talk to Judge Wendell Griffen, the same judge in the first trial. They went over what can and cannot be brought up to the jury and there are some changes.
This time around, Hastings defense team is still barred from arguing "justification" as a defense in the manslaughter case. They will argue "general denial" simply they deny Hastings did anything wrong. Attorney Bill James says, "In this case it would be that we acted reasonably under the law and didn't do anything unreasonable."
August 12, 2012, Officer Hastings reported to Shadow Lake apartments about car break-ins in progress. He later told investigators, three suspects got into a vehicle and sped towards him, making him fear for his life. He fired, killing the driver, Bobby Moore instantly.
During the first trial one of the two teens with Moore claimed they were reversing away from Hastings, the other said he didn't know which way the car was moving.
Jurors also heard from reconstruction experts hired by the prosecution and defense. Bill James is considering bringing in someone new. "You don't do the same thing and expect a different result. You are crazy."
Again, the defense cannot bring up the three suspect's criminal or mental history, possible gang affiliation or that the teens were in a stolen car with drugs and a gun in the backseat at the time of the shooting. Moore had previously stolen a car at gunpoint, that case will not be allowed to be brought up in court. Judge Griffen says the information is not relevant. Attorney Bill James adds, "We would certainly like to get into it; I think it is important but the judge has ruled otherwise and so he gets to make those rulings and like a referee, in the end you have to play your game. We will play it and obeyed by the rules."
The two juveniles did flee after the shooting, but Judge Griffin will not allow the defense to say the teens were fleeing before the shots, because there is no evidence of that.
Also new, the judge has decided to handle all questioning of the jury panel. Bill James says, "It may be for the first time in Arkansas and state court, the judge is going to ask all the questions. We will just deal with whatever he throws at us."
Channel Seven will cover the jury selection and trial that starts September 16.
John Johnson, the prosecuting attorney will not comment until after the trial.The Hastings Family released this statement August 27, 2013:
Officer Josh Hastings was wrongfully charged with manslaughter for carrying out his duties as a LRPD officer when he tried to stop three auto breaking and entering suspects from running him over in a car as they attempted to flee arrest. The Hastings family has over 127 years of combined law enforcement service to the citizens of Little Rock. We are asking the citizens of this great city to stand with us for what is right. The charges could not e proven in the first trial and we have continued fighting this injustice. We ask that you show your support for all our officers by letting them know how much they are appreciated for keeping our city safe. We ask that you stand with us and pray for Officer Hastings and that right will win.