PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A judge ruled on Monday that the jury for the Antwon Rose shooting trial will be selected from outside Allegheny County.
Judge Alexander Bicket’s chambers confirms he ordered the jury for the high-profile case to be selected from outside the county.
The “Order of Court Changing Venire” was filed Monday for the trial that is set to begin in February.
#BREAKING: Judge Alexander Bicket ordered a change of venire for the case against Michael Rosfeld, meaning the jury members will be chosen from outside of Allegheny County and transported into the county for the homicide trial. @KDKA pic.twitter.com/1ALBAcikJU
— MEGHAN SCHILLER (@MeghanKDKA) January 14, 2019
The order reads, “The Court finds that pervasive prejudicial pre-trial publicity has so tainted and continues to so taint the pool of prospective jurors as to deny the Defendant his Constitutional right to a ‘…speedy public trial by an impartial jury of [this] vicinage.'”
Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with criminal homicide back in June in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Rose on June 19.
There’s no doubt the incident has received massive coverage in the area.
The shooting set off a series of protests that went on for weeks. There’s now a gag order in the case, but prior to the gag order the 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,” Rosfeld’s attorney Patrick Thomassey said. “They picketed a judge’s home. People in this county, I think would be afraid to sit on a jury in this case.”
Thomassey made a motion to have a jury from another county brought to Allegheny County, or have the case tried elsewhere.
Bicket denied having the case being moved, but he did grant a change of venire – meaning an outside jury will be brought in.
In his ruling, Bicket said, “After consideration of the evidence presented and the test of the venire conducted, this court finds that the pervasive prejudicial pre-trial publically has so tainted and continues to taint the pool of prospective jurors as to deny the defendant his constitutional right to a speedy public trail by an impartial jury.”
The process is expensive. When a jury from Allegheny County went to hear the Bill Cosby case in Philadelphia, it cost over $200,000 for security, transportation, lodging and meals. A prominent defense attorney not connected to the Rosfeld case says bringing in the outside jury is crucial to have a fair trial.
“It’s an extreme expense for the taxpayers,” attorney Phil DiLucente said. “However, any defendant’s right is more important than taxpayer dollars as it pertains to this.”
No decision has been made yet as to where the outside jury will be chosen from.