- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - Court officials prepared Friday to begin winnowing a large jury pool for the murder trial of a white former police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man during a traffic stop.

Hamilton County Commons Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan heard a jury update in a brief pretrial hearing and said selection procedures are set to begin Oct. 25. More than 230 people answered summonses saying they could serve, while hundreds more have been excused for varied reasons, such as job concerns or no longer living in the county.

Prospective jurors will next week fill out questionnaires to be reviewed by the two sides, to begin selection procedures expected to last several days. In-courtroom questioning begins Oct. 31 for the case that has been much-debated and publicized in the Cincinnati region while also drawing global attention during a time of increased focus on treatment of black people by police in the United States.

Fired University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, 26, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 19, 2015, shooting of 43-year-old Sam DuBose, after pulling him over near campus for a missing front license plate. Tensing has been free on $1 million bond, and didn’t attend Friday’s hearing after being in court for an Oct. 14 hearing. His attorney has said he feared for his life when he fired the single shot.

Tensing’s defense and the prosecutors will argue evidence issues early next week. Defense attorney Stewart Mathews wants to be able to use in court DuBose’s lengthy record of convictions, mostly for traffic violations and marijuana possession and sales, and also to introduce medical records about DuBose’s two hospitalizations for undisclosed reasons in the weeks before the traffic stop.

Prosecutors have responded that DuBose’s conviction record and medical files are “clearly irrelevant” and said in a court filing that their use would be meant to “impermissibly attack” his character.

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Follow Dan Sewell at https://twitter.com/dansewell

For some of his other stories: https://bigstory.ap.org/content/dan-sewell

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