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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The East Pittsburgh Police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II wants a jury from out of town to hear his case.
Officer Michael Rosfeld‘s lawyer says all the local news coverage of his case will make it nearly impossible to seat an impartial, local jury.
Rose’s shooting has received massive coverage since it happened back on June 19. The cellphone video of the shooting has been shown repeatedly.
A prominent Pittsburgh defense attorney, not connected to the case, says that makes it difficult to pick an impartial jury.
“If, in fact, the pre-trial publicity is so prejudicial and so overwhelming that they can never select jurors within that county,” said attorney Phil DiLucente.
Rosfeld is charged with criminal homicide. The shooting set off a series of protests that went on for weeks.
- Officer Michael Rosfeld Charged With Criminal Homicide In Fatal Shooting Of Antwon Rose
- Permanent Gag Order Issued In Case Against Officer Accused Of Killing Antwon Rose
There’s now a gag order in the case, but prior to that being issued Rosfeld’s defense attorney talked about his concerns.
“We’ve had tie ups of traffic, there have been people attacked, people pulled out of cars, it’s gotten a lot of attention. They picketed a judge’s home,” said Patrick Thomassey, Rosfeld’s attorney, back in September. “People in this county, I think, would be afraid to sit on a jury in this case.”
So Thomassey wants to have a jury from another county brought here, or have the case tried in another county. It could mean a jury with less diversity. And it’s expensive.
When a jury from Allegheny County went to Philadelphia to hear the Bill Cosby case, it cost more than $200,000 for security, transportation, lodging and meals.
“It’s an extreme expense for the taxpayers. However, any defendant’s right is more important than taxpayer dollars as it pertains to this,” said DiLucente.
In the meantime, Thomassey has asked the courts to begin some pre-trial polling of jurors. Jurors in other cases. Have they hear about the Antwon Rose case? Would the publicity affect their judgement?