(KTAL/KMSS) Hundreds of prospective jurors in the Grover Cannon 1st Degree Murder trial which began today, stood in long lines to get inside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse in Baton Rouge, and then crowded into the 11th floor halls waiting to be questioned.
Cannon is charged in the August 5, 2015, shooting death of SPD Officer Thomas LaValley when he responded to a suspicious person call in the 3500 block of Del Rio Street.in Shreveport.
According to JDC Administrator Ann McCrory, 450 jurors were summoned to appear, after Cannon’s attorneys successfully got a change of venue for jury selection, claiming Cannon couldn’t get an impartial jury in Caddo Parish due to publicity surrounding the case.
But, after personnel from the Caddo Parish Clerk of Court’s office, the Caddo District Attorney’s office, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s office, Caddo Correctional Center and Judge Ramona Emanuel’s office, along with Grover Cannon went to Baton Rouge to select the jury, the defense filed a motion to call the whole thing off.
In the “Motion to Quash,” filed in Caddo Parish, defense attorneys argued that jury selection was unconstitutional because the jury panel was only 34 percent black, while the parish is 46.5 percent black.
But the state wasn’t having any of it – they countered the motion was filed on March 20, five days before the start of the trial, and that it was the defense, not the state, that requested the change of venue in the first place.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Emmanuel denied the motion, and proceedings moved into preliminary interviews with jurors.
The jury selection process will continue Tuesday morning.