Testimony begins in Hastings trial

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - The trial of a former Little Rock police officer accused of killing a suspect without cause got underway Wednesday.

During opening statements, Prosecutor John Johnson said Josh Hastings "didn't act in self-defense, he acted recklessly" when he killed 15-year-old Bobby Moore, III.

Defense attorney Bill James countered, saying, "The choice Josh Hastings made that put him in this chair was putting on an LRPD uniform."

Hastings has said that he did kill Moore. The trial is meant to determine whether or not it was self-defense or manslaughter.

Hastings told investigators that he felt threatened while checking reports of car burglaries at an apartment complex and that Moore was driving toward him when he shot. Prosecutors argue the evidence does not support that version of events, claiming Moore was either stopped or driving away from Hastings.

One of the two teens caught with Moore during the robbery also told police Moore was driving away from Hastings when shots were fired. The other said he did not know which way the car was moving, or if it was even moving at all.

The defense team questioned potential jurors this week about whether they've ever had to make quick decisions on the job. Defense lawyer Bill James said there is no evidence showing that Hastings acted illegally and that witnesses gave inconsistent statements.

"We feel good about the case," James said after court recessed for the day. "We think we've got a good jury. We think when it's all said and done, they're going to see the truth and see that Josh was reasonable in what he did and is not guilty of anything."

Prosecutor John Johnson declined to comment.

Prosecutors' first two witnesses Wednesday morning were LRPD officers. The first arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting happened and said Hastings was "pretty shaken." The simply described the crime scene for the jury.

The third witness to take the stand was a CSI tech who testified that Moore's right sandal was found resting on the car's brake after the shooting.

The prosecution will continue presenting their case on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to portions of this report. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off