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Potential Tensing jurors dismissed after defense finds 'concerning' Facebook posts

Posted at 2:35 PM, Jun 06, 2017

CINCINNATI -- Two potential jurors in the murder retrial of Ray Tensing were dismissed Tuesday after the defense team found two different Facebook posts deemed "concerning" by Judge Leslie Ghiz.

The first juror, No. 35, shared a link to a change.org petition titled "Act now to ensure Samuel DuBose’s death is not in vain," according to defense attorney Stew Mathews. The petition was shared Aug. 13, 2015, Mathews said.

The juror said she "did not recall posting (the petition)" but that her Facebook page was never hacked.

"It was probably just something I shared," the juror said. "I don't even know the date."

Mathews said the petition showed a "still frame of a video about the case." 

WATCH Mathews question the juror in the player above.

The petition itself asked for an end to traffic stops for missing front license plates, which is the reason Tensing, an ex-University of Cincinnati police officer, pulled DuBose over in July 2015.

"Removing Ohio’s front license plate requirement would be a step in the right direction so that our law enforcement officials can better focus on keeping our communities safe," the petition reads. "I urge you to use your office to make real, substantive change on behalf of Ohioans by removing front license plate requirements and to implement mandatory body cameras for law enforcement. Please help us send the strong message to Americans everywhere that Samuel DuBose did not die in vain."

The petition also mentions the importance of body cameras for police officers, but doesn't specifically list any demands related to body cameras.

"More important in the Samuel DuBose case, however, is the crucial role police-worn body cameras played in the legal process," the petition says. "The account as told by the police officer detailed a struggle and the officer being dragged by Mr. DuBose’s vehicle as he sped away. However, once we were able to view the footage from the officer’s body camera, the truth of the incident was far different. The lead prosecutor in this case has stated that without this camera, Mr. DuBose’s family would likely have not found justice for their son."

Juror No. 35 said she could be a fair and impartial juror, but she was excused for cause.

Juror No. 73 admitted she is a member of Black Lives Matter.

"I'm going to cut right to the chase," Mathews said, addressing the juror. "You have a photo on your Facebook page that says 'Convict Ray Tensing, Justice to Sam DuBose.'" 

Ghiz excused the potential juror on cause.

Jurors No. 35 and 73 were two of 28 jurors approved by the prosecution after three days of jury selection. The jury pool was whittled from 180 since Friday.

Assistant Prosecutor Seth Tieger objected to excusing both jurors, saying "just because something is on a Facebook page, it doesn't mean they posted it."

Ghiz and Tieger said they hope to seat a jury Tuesday.

In Tensing's first trial, one juror was dismissed for a Facebook post made during jury selection; the post said "Help, get me out of here," Mathews said.

See all of WCPO's coverage of this trial at WCPO.com/TensingTrial.