What you need to know from Day 1 of the Ray Tensing murder trial

Tensing Day 1 recap: Everything you need to know
Posted at 2:06 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 19:26:33-04

CINCINNATI -- Jurors jumped into the Ray Tensing murder trial Tuesday with a trip outside the courtroom.

Before the prosecution and defense could deliver opening statements, the jurors were taken to the scene of the 2015 shooting in Mount Auburn where Tensing killed DuBose. They left with a hint of how the prosecution and defense intend to make their respective cases.

Here are the most significant points from Day 1:

Motion for a change of venue was denied

Stew Mathews, Tensing's attorney, filed a motion to move the trial out of Hamilton County months ago. Judge Megan Shanahan held off on granting or denying the motion until jury selection was complete. The defense and prosecution agreed on a 12-member jury that they believed could be impartial and fair; Shanahan officially denied the request Tuesday morning.

Jury visits crime scene in Mount Auburn

It's not typical for a jury to visit a crime scene during trial. Shanahan instructed jurors not to consider what they saw at the crime scene to be evidence because the scene has changed over the past year. The jury didn't exit the van to view the scene due to concerns that they may be photographed and/or identified.

Police officer stands on street where jurors came to view shooting scene location.

Deters' brief opening statement centered around body camera video

"Thank god we have a body cam," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said midway through his statement. Deters began his opening statement by defending Tensing's decision to pull over Sam DuBose, run his license plate number and asked him to exit the car for a search.

"But what Tensing did next was not legitimate," Deters said. "It was murder. It was totally contrary to his was totally contrary to the laws, in this country, regarding a justified shooting."

Deters also referenced a recorded confession of sorts, in which Tensing admits to purposefully killing DuBose, according to the prosecution. This recording was mentioned to the public for the first time on Monday. "You will be able to hear, from Tensing's own mouth, that he meant to shoot (DuBose) in the head," Deters said.

To close, Deters rattled off the list of "Tensing's lies," comparing the ex-UCPD officer's account of the fatal traffic stop to the body camera video.


Mathews' opening statement describes 'misinformation'

Mathews elaborated on the University of Cincinnati's increased on-campus crime, which led to a "no fly-zone" mentality, which encouraged increased patrolling and traffic citations around the campus perimeter. He said the policy would serve as "evidence" for the defense.

"The evidence will be that (UCPD) Chief Goodrich passed it down through the ranks -- and Ray Tensing's title was patrol officer -- to go out and write traffic citations," Mathews said. "The evidence will show that some officers at UCPD thought this policy was crazy, but officers like Ray Tensing had no say in that."

Mathews then described Tensing's account of the shooting on July 19, 2015, maintaining that the ex-cop was dragged by DuBose's car, that he attempted to turn off the car and that DuBose sped off.

Mathews said he needed to "go into great detail" in his opening statement to "undo misinformation that is out and about and that has just been supplied by Mr. Deters." 


Shanahan rehashed strict technology and communication rules of the court

When the jury entered her courtroom for the first time Tuesday morning, Shanahan emphasized that only registered members of news organizations could have cellphones in the courtroom and the only images and video would come from pool photographers and film. 

Rodney Harris, the director of felony division of the pubic defenders officer, was stopped by deputies after using an Apple Watch in court. He returned a short time later.