Nine jurors seated in trial for Charlotte officer accused in deadly shooting

Nine jurors seated in trial for Charlotte officer accused in deadly shooting

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Nine jurors have been seated in the trial for Randall "Wes" Kerrick, the Charlotte officer accused in the deadly shooting of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell in 2013.

The two men and seven women were seated after multiple rounds of questioning over the past four days. The nine jurors break down into two black women, four white women and a Latina woman. The two men are both white.

The defense reportedly used three strikes to dismiss three of the potential jurors from the jury. The nine remaining potential jurors had also passed questioning by the prosecution.

According to WBTV's Coleen Harry, the judge sent the nine jurors who were selected home and will contact them when the rest of the jury has been seated.

Late Thursday afternoon, four more prospective jurors were questioned individually. One woman was excused after she told the judge she's not a U.S citizen.

WBTV asked court officials how the woman's name was chosen for jury duty.

"We get our records from DMV and voter registration. She probably has a driver's license," said Charles Keller. "It clearly says on the summons you have to be a US citizen to serve and they also go over that in the orientation several times."

Meanwhile, during questioning of jurors - Kerrick's attorney, George Laughran, told jurors what they need to be prepared for. He said they need to brace themselves for what will be gruesome photographs.

More specifically, he's talking about pictures from the autopsy.

Jurors were also told by the defense team to expect to hear testimony from a police highway reconstruction team, and they mentioned that several 911 tapes will be played along with the dash cam footage from the night Ferrell was shot.

Laughran told jurors to expect to hear reports of a home invasion, and that a man was attempting to kick in the door of a home. The issue of drug use also came up during the questioning of jurors.

Kerrick's lawyers say that they will also produce a witness who says they saw Ferrell use marijuana the night he was fatally shot.

Meanwhile, potential jurors were asked their views regarding drug use, but they also were vocal about being connected to a case that could bring racial unrest to the city of Charlotte.

From the jury box came thoughts from the datelines of Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland ,as well as the violent fallout from police-related shootings.

The issues concerning jurors are also raising questions away from the Mecklenburg County courthouse.

Gene Winchester, who cuts hair for a living in 4th Ward, is one of the driving forces behind the "Cops and Barbers" initiative, aimed at improving relations between citizens and police.

"A lot of us don't understand the process and we always fear the unknown," Winchester said.

The group has sponsored a number of outreach efforts that has focused on maintaining civility during the trial, and engaged organizations who feel they have an active stake in the dialogue.

Corey Muhammad, who is with the Nation of Islam, said, "I'm for community engagement. We don't want other than peace, but let the officers and those that in authority and administer justice do what their job is."

With jury selection in the case well beyond the halfway point, opening statements could begin any day. Back at the barbershop, Gene Winchester says it's important to keep the conversation moving over during the trial so emotions remain in check.

Winchester told WBTV, "Allow the community to come out and speak what their true feelings are what part they want to play in a positive way to be a part of the solution when it comes to the trial."

The work that lies ahead for attorneys means finding three more jurors and two alternates.

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