The defense has begun calling witnesses in the trial of former UC Police Officer Ray Tensing for the shooting death of Sam DuBose. The prosecution wrapped up its case Monday by calling several witnesses from the Hamilton County Crime Lab, including a forensic gun specialist and a deputy coroner.
The day began with an announcement from Judge Megan Shanahan. "As a result of the media's request during the course of this trial, we have lost a juror. Alternate juror number four has opted to remove herself from service."
Several media outlets last week requested copies of juror questionnaires. The Cincinnati Enquirer later agreed to withdraw its request. In an affidavit, the court's bailiff says several jurors had indicated they were concerned about their identities becoming known during the course of the trial. Shanahan has ordered the records sealed for the duration of the trial and says she's enlisted her outside attorney to seek ways to make sure jurors are protected after the trial.
Hamilton County Crime Lab Firearms Section Supervisor Kevin Lattyak was called to testify about Tensing's weapon and the gun shot to Sam DuBose's head. He said the powder residues on DuBose's hat indicated the gun was "around a foot or greater and less than two feet" away from DuBose's head when it was fired.
On cross examination Lattyak testified Tensing's Sig Sauer service weapon has some recoil but it was not likely to knock someone over if he/she was prepared, as he was at the gun range where he test-fired the weapon. Lattyak determined the weapon did not have a 'hair trigger' that would have caused it to fire easily with little pressure from the holder.
Several DuBose family members exited the courtroom for a time Monday morning as Chief Deputy Coroner Dr. Karen Looman took the stand. Looman conducted the DuBose autopsy and her testimony included graphic photos of the body, head and skull.
Looman testified the shot entered and exited DuBose's head, severing his brain stem. "As soon as that bullet cut off his brainstem, there was no more thought. There was no more purposeful movement of his arms and his legs. He essentially collapses based on the weight of his body. He just comes to a rest wherever his body falls. There's no more purposeful movement."
When asked what Looman would expect DuBose's right foot to do after the brainstem was severed, she replied, "He would no longer have control of his foot, and so like everything else, it would collapse down based on the weight of his leg and his foot."
Looman concluded, "The cause of death is a single gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death is homicide."
On cross examination Looman said marijuana, more than $2600, and a state identification card were found in DuBose's pockets. The ID card could not be shown in court because it was destroyed. Looman said this was office protocol to keep it from being used fraudulently.
The judge had previously disallowed Sam DuBose's medical records, so when asked about DuBose's health, all Looman would say is that he was not a completely healthy individual at the time of the shooting.
The prosecution rested after Looman's testimony and the defense called its first witnesses.
Two University of Cincinnati police officers who responded to the scene testified that Tensing looked scared and pale. One noted Tensing's shirt was untucked, which he noticed because Tensing's uniform was always in proper order.
Officer Derek Noland was asked about why UC officers would be patrolling off-campus. "We were told to go out, be proactive, make traffic stops, and that's what we did."
The defense called several Cincinnati police officers who also testified Tensing appeared "white" and "stunned" as well as having some dirt on his clothing, specifically his rear and back.
In total, the defense Monday called five witnesses. The prosecution asked no questions of any of the defense witnesses.
It's unclear what will happen Tuesday. The attorneys have been directed not to speak with the media and the court's bailiff refused comment. Ray Tensing is expected to take the stand in his own defense at some point.