Judge rejects bid for outside jury in ex-officer’s trial
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A judge has rejected a defense bid to have jurors from outside Philadelphia hear the case of a former white city police officer charged in the shooting death of a black man after a confrontation over a dirt bike.
Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara McDermott reached her decision after asking prospective jurors if they had heard about the case against Ryan Pownall, the first officer in nearly two decades to be charged in an on-duty shooting, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com
Only 21 of the 120 people polled Monday said they had heard about the shooting, and only five acknowledged having fixed opinions. The exercise was the second time this year McDermott has polled residents called for jury to duty in an attempt to gauge the difficulty of assembling an impartial panel.
Pownall, 37, is charged with third-degree murder in the June 2017 death of 30-year-old David Jones, who authorities said was shot in the back as he fled from the north Philadelphia stop. Defense attorneys argued he couldn’t receive a fair trial due to publicity about the case.
None of the prospective jurors polled Monday will be called to serve on the panel for the Jan. 6 trial of Pownall, the first on-duty Philadelphia officer charged with homicide since 1999.