Trial for Norfolk Police Officer charged with Voluntary Manslaughter begins with jury selection

Posted at 10:00 AM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 19:29:43-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The trial for a Norfolk Police Officer charged in the death of a mentally-ill man more than two years ago got underway Monday.

Officer Michael Edington is charged with Voluntary Manslaughter after shooting David Latham on June 6, 2014.

During a pre-trial hearing on Friday, September 23, 2016, attorneys for both the prosecution and defense discussed questions they plan to ask potential jurors.

At the beginning of court Monday, Edington entered a plea of not guilty to the charge against him. He also opted for a jury trial.

Jury selection started Monday morning in Norfolk Circuity Court. A pool of 62 potential jurors were brought in for the case. The judge, as well as attorneys for both the prosecution and defense, spent the entire day Monday asking questions of the potential jurors.

Potential jurors were asked about their knowledge of the case, if they know anyone involved in the case, about recent police-involved shootings in Hampton Roads and their relationship to mental health either personally or within their families.

When asked about their knowledge of recent police-involved shootings across the nation, from Ferguson, Missouri, to a police-involved shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina last week, every single member of the potential 62 jurors raised their hands acknowledging they were aware of the shootings.

By Monday evening, the final jury was selected and the judge dismissed them for the day, indicating he would begin with jury instructions Tuesday morning.

On the day in question, Latham's family called 911 after he picked up a knife during a fight with a family member.

When officers arrived at the home on W. 30th Street, police say Latham refused to drop the knife, and that's when he was shot and killed by Edington.

The schedule for the Norfolk Circuit Court reflects the jury trial could last two weeks. Court is not planning to be in session on Monday, October 3rd.

During jury selection Monday, it became apparent that the defense and prosecution together intend to call dozens of witnesses during the trial.

The judge presiding over the trial is The Honorable Junius P. Fulton, III.

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