In the Courts: Prospective juror interviews to begin in trial of accused cop killer

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Prosecutors and defense attorneys will begin impaneling a jury in the Grover Cannon first-degree murder trial at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Cannon is accused in the 2015 shooting death of Shreveport Police Officer Thomas LaValley, who responded to a suspicious person call in the Queensborough neighborhood on August 5, 2015.

Although the trial officially began Monday, Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel has spent the past three days interviewing jurors who asked to be excused for reasons of hardship. 

She finished those interviews this afternoon, clearing the way for attorneys on both sides to begin the process of questioning prospective jurors 

During the first phase of selection, prospective jurors will be questioned about their views on capital punishment, and if they’re open to considering both sentencing options. In capital cases, that either means the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. 

Once the pool is narrowed down to only death-penalty-qualified people, names are randomly drawn and called into the courtroom, usually in groups of 12, and are sworn in to answer questions about his or her qualifications to serve. 

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the Judge can examine the prospective jurors. Each side is given 12 peremptory challenges, which allow for the dismissal of a prospective juror without giving a reason.

Both sides have unlimited challenges for cause, but they must prove to the judge that the prospective juror is unfit in order to obtain a dismissal. 

After the jury is impaneled, the jurors will be bussed to Shreveport, where they will be sequestered in a hotel until the trial is over. 

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