- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A mistrial has been declared in a Kansas murder trial after a Nebraska television station aired footage of people in the jury pool.

Norton County Judge Preston Pratt on Tuesday put a stop to the trial of Bobby Tallent after a station in Kearney, Nebraska, showed footage Monday night of people waiting to be questioned during jury selection. The station said on its website that it wouldn’t have filmed or aired the video had it known potential jurors were in the hallway where its reporter received permission from court staff to stand.

Tallent, 37, faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder in the death of 47-year-old Joseph Sweet, whose body was found in March 2015 in a park in the western Kansas town of Norton.

Prosecutors allege that Tallent fired on law enforcement officers while they were in the park and, later, as they drove on the outskirts of town, The Salina Journal newspaper reported. Tallent also is accused of stealing a vehicle and leading officers on a chase before he was arrested near the Nebraska border.

Lisa Taylor, of the Office of Judicial Administration in Topeka, said the judge was informed Tuesday morning that individuals called for jury duty were identifiable in the video that was aired. The court obtained the video footage, and Tallent’s attorney argued for a mistrial.

A Kansas Supreme Court rule about cameras in the courtroom prohibits photographs or video of jurors.

“Due to the degree of prejudice resulting to the fair selection of an impartial jury it is not possible to continue and a mistrial is necessary,” Pratt wrote in the order granting the motion for a mistrial.

A hearing is set for Nov. 2 to consider a motion for a change of venue and to set dates for a new trial.


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