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Witness Testimony Shared in Retrial of Former LRPD Officer Charged with Manslaughter

The prosecution called a number of witnesses on the first day, including a juvenile that was in the car when the shooting occurred.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- After more than a week of jury selection, witness testimony began Tuesday in the retrial of Josh Hastings, a former Little Rock Police officer charged with manslaughter after shooting 15-year-old Bobby Moore III while on duty.

In opening statements to the jury, prosecution argued that Hastings fired three shots without considering alternative courses of action, while the defense contended that the car Moore was in was moving toward the defendant, never slowing until shots were fired.

The first day of testimony was not short on drama, as defense attorney Bill James was placed in contempt of court for actions during cross examination of the fourth witness. 

Judge Wendell Griffen, very sternly, reminded the courtroom that there are rules about what will and what will not be allowed in this trial. Griffen claimed James "made a proffer in presence of the jury." 

Apparently, James approached Griffen's bench while the jury and witness were still in the room, and asked to bring in evidence and testimony that had already been disallowed. 

Griffen found James in contempt of the court and plans on addressing the issue at the end of the trial. 

"Well, I did something the court didn't like," James said. "I don't think I did anything wrong, and that will be dealt with in due time."

The prosecution called a number of witnesses on the first day, including a juvenile that was in the car when the shooting occurred. 

The 17-year-old, 16 at the time of the incident, testified that they were "driving around that night with Bobby driving checking cars." He explained that as "going into cars looking for what we could find."

After smashing the window of the last car, he says they walked back to their car to leave.

The witness testified that while on the drive out of the apartment complex, with Moore driving, they saw someone holding a flashlight that announced themselves as a Little Rock Police officer and told them to stop the car. 

The witness testified that Moore stopped the car six feet from the officer, who he could see was holding a gun. He said he got under the dash and felt the car go into reverse and start rolling backward when the shots were fired.

He confirmed a diagram submitted as evidence that showed how the car then rolled back down a decline before stopping when it hit a parked car.

Pictures of the scene, including Moore slumped over, were shown, causing the witness to pause his testimony as he was consumed with grief.

During the defense's cross examination, there was quite a bit of back and forth between James and the witness over what his current testimony compared to what he told police at the time and what was said in the last trial.

The witness, after much back and forth and during the prosecution's redirect, ended his testimony by saying Bobby completely stopped the car and was going backward before the shots were fired.

The sixth witness in the first day of testimony was the other juvenile in the back seat of the car at the time.

He testified during the prosecution's questioning that Bobby started gradually slowing as they approached the officer, and that the car started going backward immediately after the shots were fired.

When asked if Moore once ever tried to run that police officer over, he simply answered, "No."

The defense started its cross-examination by asking which direction the car was moving when the shots were fired.

The witness answered, "Forward."

The last witness of the day was Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Kokes, who explained the gunshot wounds Moore suffered.

The prosecution presented autopsy pictures of Moore depicting where the three shots hit him. It showed one through his middle finger of the hand that was on the steering wheel, one through chest and one behind his behind ear that Dr. Kokes says ended Bobby Moore's life.

The proceedings are scheduled to resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. 
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