In the midst of growing controversy surrounding the alleged murder of a Mendota Heights police officer, Attorney Joe Tamburino discussed some of the challenges the defense will face.
Tamburino is not directly associated to the case, but discussed it with local news sources yesterday. The defendant - a 39-year-old man accused of killing a local police officer – will face serious challenges during the course of the trial, which began Monday.
According to prosecutors, the defendant shot and killed the officer during a traffic stop in July 2014. The man fled, prosecutors say, leading to an eight-hour manhunt. He was shot eight times before law enforcement arrested him.
In addition to first-degree murder charges, the defendant faces several counts of attempted murder for firing shots at police before they arrested him.
The amount of time it took for the case to move to trial was surprisingly short, Tamburino believes, especially considering the complexity of the case.
He said, "Usually it takes one year to 18 months when dealing with first-degree murder charges."
Relocating the Trial May Not Help the Defense
As the case moved closer to trial, it was relocated to a Stearns County to avoid potential jurors who had already made up their mind about the case. Even still, Tamburino believes that the defense will face presuppositions about the alleged crime.
"I think whether it's in Hastings, St. Cloud, or Duluth you're still going to run into same problems," said Tamburino.
The defense could face additional problems from jurors, since a similar case occurred less than ten years ago when a law officer died attempting to arrest robbery suspects. The case was highly publicized and many Stearns County residents still remember it, Tamburino commented.
He said, "The defense needs to look for jurors who can really put aside their emotions and just look at evidence."