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Murder Trial for Freddie Gray Police Van Driver Begins This Week

Murder Trial for Freddie Gray Police Van Driver Begins This Week

The police officer who faces the most serious charge in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray heads to court this week as prosecutors continue to seek a victory in the high-profile case that set off demonstrations and riots in Baltimore. He faces the most serious charges among the officers charged in Gray's death: second-degree depraved heart murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Goodson is one of six officers accused of being involved in Gray's death, however, he is the only officer who did not give a statement to investigators, and the only one being charged with murder and vehicular manslaughter. The trial begins on Thursday. The trial of Officer William Porter ended in December with a hung jury.

Caesar Goodson, who was driving the transport wagon and faces second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges, chose a judge trial at a motions hearing Monday.

Williams granted a defense motion to bar reference to a statement that another charged officer, William Porter, allegedly made to a detective in a phone call. Based on the Barker v. Wingo decision, involving the Sixth Amendment on whether or not the right to a speedy trial was violated, Williams ruled Goodson's rights were not violated.

Goodson's trial follows the acquittal of Officer Edward Nero last month and will likely mirror numerous arguments set out in the trial of Officer William G. Porter in December.

The Baltimore police officer drove the van in which Gray suffered a fatal spine injury in before slipping into a coma last April.

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"This is unlike the other trials, where at least the state had a preview as to what the defense might be or what the defendant might say on the witness stand", said Steve Levin, a Baltimore attorney who is familiar but unaffiliated with the case. The question then gets asked: "Is that even a crime not to seat belt a prisoner?" attorney and courtroom observer Warren Alperstein said.

Porter also appeared to shift responsibility for Gray's care to Goodson, testifying that it was typically understood that van drivers have custody over detainees. Both police and bystanders say Gray did not refuse arrest, and that police didn't use excessive force in arresting him, although Gray's leg appeared injured.

"One of the witnesses", she says, "has already testified that [the likely cause of] the injury that resulted in Freddie Gray's death was the result of the van either quickly stopping or coming to a quick deceleration". Gray died several days later.

Williams outlined when Goodson was charged in May 2015 and the court happenings since that date, including the time lapse since the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling on Porter's testimony.

Information on Gray's autopsy will be allowed, Williams ruled. Defense attorneys wanted the charges dismissed, because they said the prosecution failed to detail what Goodson did to cause the van to make harmful contact with Gray.

Jury selection for Goodson was supposed to start tomorrow.


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