A judge has rejected a request from a former police officer to change the location of his trial for the murder of Breonna Taylor.
Brett Hankison’s attorney argued that the jury pool in Jefferson County, Kentucky, has been tainted by an ‘avalanche’ of negative publicity, ABC News reported
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith ruled that moving the trial is premature at this point, but warned she would be open to granting the request if it turns out that an impartial jury cannot sit in Louisville.
Hankison was charged with three felonies in September for firing errant shots that broke into a wall in Taylor’s apartment and into a neighboring home occupied by three people.
Hankinson pleaded not guilty to the charges and is expected to face trial in August.
Emergency technician Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home on March 13, 2020 by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers who were executing a search warrant
Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison was charged with three felonies in September for firing erratic shots that penetrated a wall in Taylor’s apartment. His attorney requested that the upcoming trial be moved, arguing that the jury pool in Jefferson County, Kentucky, has been tainted by an “avalanche” of negative publicity.
Defense attorney Stewart Matthews said it would be nearly impossible for the former Louisville police officer to get a fair trial in Jefferson County.
Oprah Winfrey paid to post numerous billboards calling for charges against Hankison and two other white officers for shooting the black emergency room worker at her home on March 13, 2020.
Louisville police officers carrying out a search warrant used a battering ram to enter the apartment Taylor, 26, was in with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
Police were investigating two men they believed were selling drugs from a house far from Taylor’s home. A judge signed a search warrant because police said they thought one of the men had used the apartment to receive parcels, The New York Times reported
Walker later told police he feared the loud banging on the door was Taylor’s ex-boyfriend trying to break in. After the police knocked the door off the hinges, Walker fired his pistol once and hit Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh. Police responded by firing several shots, hitting Taylor five times.
Taylor did not receive medical attention for more than 20 minutes after being hit, The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported, citing shipping logs.
Hankison blindly fired 10 bullets into the apartment, investigators said.
Jim Lesousky, a prosecutor at the attorney general’s office, asked the judge to dismiss Hankison’s request to move the trial.
Lesousky noted that a jury had successfully served Tuesday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, a case that generated the same level of protests and privileged publicity, if not more.
Matthews, the defense attorney, argued that the publicity, protests and statements by national celebrities portraying Hankison as a “ murderer ” have risen so much that no unbiased jury can be found in Jefferson County, whose data the US Census indicates it is most diverse in Kentucky.
Oprah Winfrey paid for numerous billboards to be placed around Louisville calling for charges against Hankison and two other white officers for shooting Taylor
The billboards quote Winfrey as saying: ‘If you overlook racism, you become an accomplice’
Billboards around Louisville are encouraging residents to “demand that the police involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged.” They quote Winfrey as saying, “If you condone racism, you become an accomplice.”
Matthews also argued that Hankison’s letter of resignation from the police station would be made public, in which former police chief Robert Schröder said that Hankison used lethal force by shooting “ willfully and blindly ” in Taylor’s apartment, “ it certainly gives an unfair and baseless impression of credibility. to the charges against Hankison.