Here’s what you need to know about murder suspect Christopher Taylor’s defense: Defenders say it’s all about perception – News

Here’s what you need to know about murder suspect Christopher Taylor’s defense: Defenders say it’s all about perception – News

Defense attorney Doug O’Connell shows crime scene photos to jurors (Photo by Jana Berchum)

The Chronicle will be in the courtroom and providing ongoing coverage of Christopher Taylor’s trial. Learn about the case and the ramifications of the ruling in this story.

Christopher TaylorHis defense will depend on what he is tangible Michael Ramos Ramos could have done so in the moments before he was shot three times with an AR-15 rifle, rather than what Ramos actually did, the defense attorney said. Doug O’Connell he said in his opening statement to the jury on Nov. 1. When Taylor and fellow officers confronted Ramos in the parking lot of the Rosemont apartment complex in Southeast Austin on the evening of April 24, 2020, Taylor alone viewed Ramos as a threat and demanded the use of deadly force.

Taylor’s lawyers will likely argue that the officer observed that Ramos — who was standing in a parking space, facing a line of officers with their weapons pointed at him — intended to flee the scene “through the officers or around the officers,” as O’Connell put it to the court. Jurors. O’Connell said this perception justified killing.

“We are confident that you will decide that Chris Taylor’s actions were reasonable given what he was seeing in the seconds before he had to take the photo,” O’Connell told the jury. While presenting the state’s evidence last week, prosecutors showed a video and digital animation recreating the scene showing Ramos driving away from officers in a Toyota Prius while Taylor shoots him.

We don’t yet know what Taylor’s defense attorneys believe he noticed in the seconds between the time another officer fatally shot Ramos and when he began driving away from the officers, but David GildenA professor at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in perception and cognition is expected to testify before the defense rests.

O’Connell also told jurors that he and his co-counsel Ken Irwin They would ask the other officers who confronted Ramos why they didn’t shoot the man, who they thought had a gun but later turned out to be unarmed. Two days into their case, O’Connell and Irvin have made good on that promise, but it is unclear, at this point, how much this testimony will help their client. one officer, Benjamin HartHe said he did not fire because he looked to his left the moment Ramos exited to see if any other officers behind him were preparing to shoot. As he looked away, Taylor shot and killed Ramos.

The prosecution had already questioned an officer who was there, Darrell Cantu Harkless. “If I thought the car was headed toward me, no matter how many times I shot, it wasn’t going to stop a moving car,” Cantu-Harkless said of his decision not to shoot. Under interrogation by the prosecution Dexter Gilford Last week, Cantu Harkless said he “would not hesitate” to use deadly force if he felt he or his fellow officers faced an imminent threat.

During this line of questioning, Guilford also suggested that part of the Cantu-Harkless statement that was given to the Austin Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit, which is charged with investigating officers accused of criminal conduct while on duty, may have come at the suggestion Andrew Wunderlich, an SIU investigator interviews Cantu-Harkless. In that interview, the officer said he feared Ramos would shoot the officers as he drove away, but did not mention the fear that Ramos would use the car as a deadly weapon (a fear that Taylor’s attorneys likely claim their client felt) until it was suggested by an investigator SIU.

Prosecutors asked Cantu-Harkless again about the SIU statement during cross-examination of the witness on November 3. Cantu-Harkless acknowledged that Vonderlich first suggested the Prius could have posed a threat to the officers, but in response to O’Connell’s questions. The officer said he did not feel manipulated by the investigator.

Taylor’s defense is expected to continue presenting evidence today, November 3, and possibly into next week. Once their case is over, each side will present closing arguments to the jury before sending them to deliberate on the verdict.

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(Tags for translation) Austin Police Department

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