Lake Charles - The man accused of gunning down a pastor in front of his congregation in 2013 is claiming self-defense. Justifiable homicide and self defense of another, were also brought up by Woodrow Karey's attorneys during jury selection.
At last word, eleven made it through the first round of questioning. Additional questioning stating at 8 a.m. Wednesday will likely complete the panel.
The point of questioning jurors is to find twelve people to fairly and impartially decide if Woodrow Karey is guilty of manslaughter-- in the shooting death of Ronald Harris-- gunned down in front of his congregation September 27th, 2013.
Defense attorney Todd Clemons said if the evidence shows Karey killed Harris, it does not mean he committed a crime.
Said Clemons, "You can't just read the first line in the paper, 'Woodrow Karey shot the pastor. we all know that," said Clemons
Karey is apparently claiming self defense, defense of another and justifiable homicide according to Clemons' questions to jurors, but the details won't unfold until opening statements and then testimony.
Many jurors find the idea of judging another difficult, but Clemons told them "You're not judging Woodrow Karey-- you're judging his actions. We are just asking for people to look at his actions and whether a crime was committed," he said.
Clemons also discussed extremely graphic photos that will be shown at the trial, likely of Harris's body and asked if that could prevent some from being fair.
"We don't want it to make you unduly sympathetic to the alleged victim says Clemons, because it could deprive Karey of a fair trial," said Clemons.
Meanwhile, the state took a disagreement with the judge over limiting jury questions to the 3rd Circuit.
The state wants to probe jurors' understanding of manslaughter and issues like "sudden passion and heat of blood, sufficient to deprive the average person of self control."
But Judge Clayton Davis said no.
And now, the appeal court, has refused the state's request but the state may try again, The Third Circuit's panel explained their denial was partly because of an insufficient transcript of court proceedings. Officials with the DA's office say they will re-file the request for review tomorrow.
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