Long lines wrap around courthouse as Tensing trial begins

Long lines wrap around courthouse as Tensing trial begins
Long lines form outside the Hamilton County Courthouse Tuesday morning. (FOX19 NOW/Robert Guaderrama)
Long lines form outside the Hamilton County Courthouse Tuesday morning. (FOX19 NOW/Robert Guaderrama)
FOX19 NOW/file
FOX19 NOW/file

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The murder trial of a former University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot a motorist during a traffic stop begins Tuesday with the remainder of jury questionnaires being turned in.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan also is expected to give the 234 prospective jurors basic instructions.

Long lines snaked around the Hamilton County Courthouse shortly after 8 a.m.

Attorneys will spend the rest of the week reviewing the jury questionnaires.

Courtroom questioning of perspective jurors as attorneys begin to reduce the jury pool will begin Monday.

It's not clear how long that will take.

Opening statements and witness testimony will begin once the 12-member jury and alternates are in place.

Ray Tensing, 26, faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted on a murder charge in the July 19, 2015 shooting death of Sam DuBose, 43.

He also is charged with voluntary manslaughter, which caries a maximum sentence of 11 years.

He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.

[Related story: Preview: Ray Tensing murder trial starts this week]

Tensing pulled DuBose over for driving a vehicle with a missing front license plate just off campus in Mt. Auburn. The incident was captured on Tensing's body camera.

The two spoke for a minute as Tensing asked for DuBose's driver's license and then inquired if it was suspended.

Tensing asked DuBose to take off his seat belt and then tried to open the door. DuBose immediately pulled it shut and said "I didn't even do nothing," according to the video.

Dubose started up the car. Tensing reached into the vehicle with one hand and ordered "Stop!"

He reached toward DuBose's seat belt and repeated "Stop!"

DuBose was visible on the body camera with an arm raised.

Tensing shot him in the head, the video shows.

An outside review commissioned by UC said the now-fired officer showed poor police tactics in an "entirely preventable" fatal shooting.

Tensing's attorney Stew Mathews has said his client feared getting dragged under DuBose's car as he tried to drive away.

Hamilton County's prosecutor called Tensing's actions "asinine" and "senseless" in announcing the officer's indictment and releasing the body camera footage.

Tensing will take the stand to defend himself, his lawyer has said.

More than two dozen witnesses have been subpoenaed to testify.

The trial is expected to last about two or three weeks, according to FOX19 NOW legal analyst and former county prosecutor Mike Allen.

Late Monday, the judge ruled that Tensing's defense has the right to access DuBose's medical records for a small window of time.

It does not make the records admissible.

It's expected the judge will rule on the records' admissibility later this week.

Her order directs the defense not to make the records public.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati leaders and Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil have been meeting with civil rights, clergy and other community leaders ahead of the trial.

Security has been beefed up in the courthouse, with demonstrations by Black Lives Matter and other groups planned outside during the proceedings.

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati members announced on their Facebook page late Monday they were delaying plans to begin rallying outside the courthouse until next week:

"The questioning of the jurors in court will start on October 31st. Tomorrow there will no longer be an active court session for the Tensing trial. For this reason Black Lives Matter: Cincinnati has decided to not rally tomorrow but shift our energies to build a large and strong mobilization on the 31st!"

"The AMOS Project will still have a presence in front of the Courthouse on Tuesday October 25th.

"Please help us spread the word by sharing this message!

"Power to the People!

"#IamSamDuBose #CountdownToConviction"

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