A judge on Thursday announced there will be “no blank slate” for the jury that will decide whether to convict the man charged with killing Oakland’s police chief and seven other people.
The jury pool will go for three days before being dismissed from deliberating the case against Anthony Hayne and nine other men and women will be selected.
Justice John Russo refused to stop the trial Friday, despite objections from the family of 47-year-old Police Chief Anthony “Tony” Lake, who was shot dead along with 14 others May 13, 2016, during an ambush at a neighborhood party.
Russo rejected the family’s request for a mistrial and a judge overrode a defense motion to declare a mistrial after Assistant District Attorney Jared Weddle told a late-morning press conference that he felt reporters needed to know that jurors would be selected from a final pool.
“We should be able to discuss any strategy he may have,” Weddle said.
By lunchtime, Russo had summoned all the jurors and told them if they wished to be retried they could ask the judge.
“We are all perfectly capable of saying ‘yes,’ ” said Rebecca Pottenberg, one of the jurors brought into the courtroom to be questioned.
Russo ruled those jurors will not be allowed to talk to the media or the defendant’s lawyers and will not hear the case. Pottenberg, who sat on the jury for nine hours, said she was eager to hear it, but agreed she could judge a verdict on the evidence, not the name of the man accused of the crimes.
If she could do it over, Pottenberg said, she probably would have voted for a conviction.
“Honestly I was dead in the water,” Pottenberg said, “I had to think on a lot of things.”
Prosecutors allege Hayne, a 30-year-old ex-con with gang affiliations, went to the party with no invitation and shooting rampage.
One person injured in the deadly shooting is not listed as a homicide victim on court records but is alleged to have died weeks later of injuries unrelated to the shooting.
The case was moved away from Oakland because of extensive publicity around the killings and the subject has continued to be seized upon by community activists.
A military veteran, Hayne is charged with six counts of murder for the deaths of the chief, Lake, his wife, and six others and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm.
Defense attorney Jonathan McDougall and Russo also set up a special jury, one that had never been called before.
A process overseen by the chief will select the nine other potential jurors.
The jury of 12 and 12 alternates will go into deliberations after the release of the pool and after a recess.
Click for more from San FranciscoGate.com.