CINCINNATI (AP) — There will be a new prosecution team for the retrial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murder for shooting an unarmed black motorist during a traffic stop, the county prosecutor said Friday.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said he and his two assistant prosecutors in the first trial are off the case and assistant prosecutors Stacey DeGraffenreid and Seth Tieger will take over for Ray Tensing's new trial, set for May 25. A jury deadlocked in November in the first trial.
Deters said he and the two assistant prosecutors in the first trial will instead focus on the May resentencing of Anthony Kirkland, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for killing two teenage girls and burning their bodies. He also pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing two women. The Ohio Supreme Court last year granted him a new sentencing hearing.
"Seth and Stacey will bring a fresh set of eyes to the case and will have the time necessary to prepare for the retrial," Deters said in a statement. "This was a hard decision for me, as I feel strongly about prosecuting the Tensing case myself, but it is crucial that both cases have prosecutors assigned who can properly prepare."
The retrial will also have a new judge. Leslie Ghiz replaced Judge Megan Shanahan, who recused herself after the first trial.
Tensing, fired by the University of Cincinnati after his indictment, testified in his first trial that he feared for his life when Sam DuBose tried to drive away after the July 2015 stop for a missing front license plate.
Deters had said when announcing plans to retry Tensing that he wanted to move the case to another Ohio city, away from intense local attention. Ghiz has said her objective is to keep the trial in Hamilton County.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23.
The Tensing case is among fatal shootings by police around the country that have focused attention on how police deal with blacks.
Associated Press writer Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.
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