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As the Tensing trial gets going, these are 9 key players you should be familiar with

Former UC officer charged with murder
As the Tensing trial gets going, these are 9 key players you should be familiar with
Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 31, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The trial of Ray Tensing's life is about to heat up.

Tensing, 26, a former officer with the University of Cincinnati Police Department, faces charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. The charges stem from a July 2015 incident in which Tensing, who is white, pulled over Samuel Dubose, a 43-year-old black man, for not displaying a front license plate. As Dubose started his car and began to pull away from Tensing against his orders, the officer pulled his gun from the holster and fired it once into Dubose's head, killing him.

Tensing initially claimed that Dubose's car had dragged him and made him fear for his life, but footage from Tensing's body-worn camera prompted Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to declare at a July 29, 2015, press conference, "This is, without question, a murder."

If convicted of murder, Tensing could face 15 years to life in prison. If convicted of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter -- a crime of passion -- Tensing could be sentenced to anywhere from three to 11 years in prison.

Tensing has no prior criminal record and is free on a $1 million bond posted by his father, Paul Tensing.

The racially charged case has garnered national media attention because of other highly publicized instances of white police officers killing unarmed black men.

Here are nine names that you're likely to hear in the coming weeks as the trial goes on:

The defendant: Ray Tensing. In the moments that immediately followed Dubose's death, Tensing claimed that he used deadly force because his arm was caught in the steering wheel of Dubose's vehicle, and he feared being dragged beneath the car by the fleeing Dubose. According to an internal review contracted by the university, "at no point in the body camera video footage does it appear that Tensing's arm is lodged or caught in the steering wheel of the Accord or other aspect of the car's interior."

Tensing's attorney: Stewart Mathews. Mathews has argued that statements made by Deters, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, former Cincinnati Police Department Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and City Manager Harry Black poisoned the jury pool in Hamilton County, and he believes a change of venue is required to ensure Tensing gets a fair trial. The jury for Tensing's trial has not yet been selected, and potential jurors have been required to fill out lengthy questionnaires designed to reveal bias or prejudice.

The prosecutor: Joe Deters. Clearly outraged by the footage captured by Tensing's body-worn camera of the incident that resulted in Dubose's death, Deters vowed to personally prosecute the case. In the immediate wake of the incident, Deters initially resisted releasing the footage from Tensing's body-worn camera. He later relented.

The judge: Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan. A former prosecutor, Shanahan once served on Deters' staff. Shanahan has a reputation for toughness and has demonstrated a stern courtroom demeanor, demanding decorum and showing little patience for outbursts from the gallery.

Witness: UCPD Officer Phillip Kidd. One of two officers that arrived at the scene just before Tensing fired his gun, Kidd initially backed up Tensing's claims that he was being dragged by Dubose's car. Kidd was placed on administrative leave by the department after inconsistencies in Tensing's stories emerged, but Deters later declined to press charges against him for filing a false report.

Witness: UCPD Officer David Lindenschmidt. Then an officer-in-training, Lindenschmidt was with Kidd when Tensing fired his gun. Lindenschmidt was also placed on paid leave in the days following the shooting, and was criticized for disturbing the crime scene by moving Tensing's car and picking up Tensing's flashlight. UC's internal report later absolved Lindenschmidt of wrongdoing, as his "unintentional" mistakes "did not appear to have materially impacted the investigation."

Former UC President Santa Ono. Now the president of the University of British Columbia in Canada, Ono was the top official at UC at the time of the shooting. Shanahan approved a request by Tensing's attorneys to depose Ono in June.

Former UCPD Chief Jason Goodrich. Tensing stopped Dubose on Rice Street, which is not a part of UC's campus. According to an independent review of the UC Police Department contracted by the university, Goodrich and former Maj. Tim Thornton were behind the department's strategy to significantly increase off-campus traffic stops. The report, prepared by the firm Exiger and released in April, accused Goodrich of providing dishonest answers to questions from Exiger investigators and UC officials about the off-campus strategy. Goodrich resigned in February.

Expert: Grant Fredericks. According to a filing by the prosecutor's office, Fredericks could be called as an expert witness. Fredericks, the owner of Forensic Video Solutions, performed a forensic video analysis of Tensing's body camera footage.