Defense calls first witnesses in Ray Tensing retrial

CINCINNATI -- Ray Tensing's defense team is calling its first witnesses to the stand Thursday morning.

Before Tensing's defense team took the floor Thursday, the prosecution dropped a bombshell: Assistant Prosecutor Seth Tieger requested a lesser charge against Tensing.

Tieger asked for a reckless homicide charge to be added to the indictment against the ex-University of Cincinnati police officer. Tensing is currently charged with murder and homicide.

Ghiz denied the request for a lesser charge.

Tensing’s murder retrial was handed over to the defense team Thursday after the prosecution wrapped up in day five of the trial Wednesday.

During the first trial in fall 2016, Stew Mathews and his team called on seven witnesses to testify on behalf of Tensing, including the accused man himself. Mathews stated during jury selection that Tensing would again testify in the trial, but that may not come until Friday. Forensic video analyst Scott Roder took the stand first today, breaking down the body cam video.

Roder works for the Los Angeles firm The Evidence Room. He and seven employees reconstructed the crime scene. Roder did not testify in the original trial, and the defense had to fight for his testimony this time around.
Judge Leslie Ghiz qualified him as an expert, but he will not be allowed to use animated recreations of the shooting because Ghiz calls them altered images.

"The reason for that is the best evidence is body cam video,” Ghiz said. "The animation essentially, in my opinion after having viewed it, takes an imperfect situation and makes it a perfect situation, and there's no such thing when you have the body cam video. The best evidence is the body cam video itself. We'll let the jury make that determination.”

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