Tensing retrial: Here's what to expect from Day 5

Tensing retrial: Here's what to expect from Day 5
Posted at 12:54 AM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 00:54:34-04

CINCINNATI -- Court could run late Wednesday as Judge Leslie Ghiz attempts to keep the retrial of Ray Tensing, a former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of motorist Sam DuBose, on schedule.

Five more witnesses, including the deputy coroner who performed DuBose's autopsy, will take the stand.

First on the ticket is firearms expert Edward Lattyak, who testified during Tensing's first trial that it was unlikely the officer could have accidentally fired the shot that killed DuBose. Tensing's Sig Sauer P320 was in "like-new" condition, he said, which meant it would require a normal amount of pressure to pull the trigger.

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Lattyak also answered in the affirmative when defense attorney Stew Mathews asked him whether DuBose's car could be considered as deadly a weapon as Tensing's gun.

"Common sense would tell you that," Lattyak said.

Much of Tensing's defense has rested on the argument that he fired on DuBose because he had been dragged by DuBose's car and feared for his own life. Although forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks testified Tuesday that body camera video showed Tensing had not been dragged, the "deadly weapon" classification of the car could still support the defense's stance.

Trace evidence examiner Michael Trimpe will follow Lattyak. During Tensing's first trial, Trimpe said there were no physical indicators that Tensing had been dragged.

Next will come Dr. Karen Looman, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Sam DuBose's body. The facts of her first testimony were well-established: Tensing killed Sam DuBose with a single gunshot to the head, severing his brain stem and instantly ending all thought and voluntary movement. Neither the defense nor the prosecution disputes this.

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However, the photos that accompanied her testimony drew emotional reactions from both DuBose's family -- many of them left the courtroom -- and Tensing himself. He responded to a picture of the dead man's face, the bullet wound fully exposed, by covering his eyes and looking away.

James Scanlon, a 33-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department, volunteered to testify free for the defense during Tensing's first trial.

After watching the body camera video, he vouched for Tensing's shooting as being within the boundaries of police procedure, but admitted he was a training officer and not a video analyst. Assistant Prosecutor Rick Gibson dismissed him after cross-examination as a "layperson just like anyone on the jury."

Finally, criminologist Officer Martin Odom will testify about the photos he took of Tensing directly after the incident, the physical evidence he collected and the brief interaction they had. Odom said during Tensing's first trial that the UC officer seemed "nervous and afraid" when they met.

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