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Former LR Cop Charged with Manslaughter to Claim Self Defense

A former Little Rock police officer charged with manslaughter in the death of a teen appeared in court ahead of his June 18 trial date.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A former Little Rock police officer charged with manslaughter in the death of a teen appeared in court ahead of his June 18 trial date.

Josh Hastings' attorney Bill James told prosecutors and the court his client's defense was self-defense.

Prosecutors questioned whether it was a legal defense in a manslaughter case, citing previous jury instructions from case law. The matter is to be reviewed, and James will possibly be deciding on another defense for Hastings.

Hastings was charged with manslaughter and subsequently terminated from the Little Rock Police Department for his involvement in the shooting death of 15-year-old Robert Moore.

Moore was reportedly breaking into cars in a Little Rock apartment complex in August. Hastings arrived on scene to the call, and he claimed Moore attempted to run him over. Fearing for his life, Hastings said, he shot at the teenager and ultimately killed him.

Investigators and accident reconstruction specialists said in an affidavit that the physical evidence did not support Hastings' account of events, finding that the car Moore was driving was either in park or reverse at the time of the shooting. That evidence, investigators said, correlated with statements from teen witnesses who were in the car with Moore at the time.

The hearing today in Circuit Judge Wendell Griffin's court room was brief, with some motions like suppression of evidence and statements being retracted by the defense.

The family of the victim and the family of the accused were told they would exit at separate times from the courtroom. That decision came following an incident with Moore's family member spitting on the defendant outside the courtroom on a previous court appearance.

"No one will disrespect this court or one another here," said Judge Wendell Griffin during the hearing. "Unless you would like free accommodations in a location of the county's choosing."

A pretrial hearing is slated for June 11, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.  A voir dire hearing, to question prospective jurors and possible expert witnesses, is slated for June 17. A trial date has been set for June 18.
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