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Judge rules trial of ex-cop charged in Breonna Taylor raid will remain in Louisville

Judge Smith said she will reconsider moving the August trial to another county if they have a hard time finding unbiased jurors.

Brett Hankison Shelby County Detention Center

The trial of the former Louisville Metro Police Department detective who was charged for his role in the raid of Breonna Taylor’s home will remain in Louisville, a judge ruled.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith said that she realized there had “obviously been an overwhelming amount of publicity” surrounding Brett Hankison’s trial, but she will do her best to find unbiased jurors. “At this point in time, I do think the prudent thing to do is to try to get a jury seated here in Jefferson County,” the judge told attorneys.

However, Judge Smith said that if they have a hard time finding unbiased jurors locally, she will reconsider moving the August trial to another county.

Last month, Hankison requested to have his trial moved to a new location due to the “media circus” surrounding Taylor’s death. Attorney Stew Mathews said that a jury pool in Louisville would be “irreparably prejudiced and biased” and a fair trial would be nearly impossible. The lawyer also believes that anyone sitting on this jury could have a “chilling effect on prospective jurors who could fear a threat to their well-being.”

“During the trial and after a verdict is reached, these jurors will return to their homes, jobs, places of worship and other venues,” the motion said. “Some groups of people will be pleased with the verdict. Others not so pleased.”

Last March, Taylor was shot and killed as several LMPD officers entered her home under a no-knock warrant. None of the officers involved in the deadly shooting were charged for her death, however, Hankison was arrested and charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for blindly shooting into the nearby apartments of Taylor’s neighbors. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a $15,000 bond.

His wanton endangerment trial is set for Aug. 31. If convicted, each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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