Judge: Terence Crutcher’s Past Can’t Be Used In Betty Shelby Trial
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - A judge decided to keep out some of the evidence Betty Shelby's attorneys want to use to defend her at her upcoming manslaughter trial that begins in just over a week.
Both sides talked through potential evidence and witnesses they hope to use when the trial gets started; Friday was mostly focused on the defense.
Shelby’s attorney, Shannon McMurray, said they are "cautiously optimistic."
Not surprisingly, the defense and the district attorneys were at odds Friday.
The court discussed the usage of Shelby's official statement, which she gave three days after the September 2016 shooting of Terence Crutcher.
They discussed using the helicopter footage of the shooting and talked about whether or not certain expert witnesses were necessary to use.
McMurray said pre-trial hearings are the best way to serve both sides.
"This is beneficial to myself, certainly as a defense attorney, and I think the state, probably, on that one thing we can agree. It helps keep us all on task and doing what needs to get done," McMurray said.
After the hearing, McMurray also discussed her choice to let Shelby appear on 60 Minutes rather than talk to local media. She said the main reason was to pull in the national audience.
"We were dealing with an ongoing false narrative, in my opinion, and that was the way I chose, with my client, to address it," she said.
However, since then, McMurray said she's gone "media silent," and has kept her eyes and ears off the TV.
She said heading into next week’s final hearing, Shelby’s defense team remains cautiously optimistic and confident that an unbiased jury will be selected.
"I feel very optimistic that we'll get a good juror, get a good jury seated,” McMurray said. "Right now, I've got my head back, my shoulders back, diligently preparing for trial."
The hearing next Wednesday will focus on the state's witness list as well as the usage of the helicopter footage from the shooting, which the defense is not in favor of.
One thing the court did rule couldn’t be used as evidence was Crutcher’s past criminal history and drug use, along with witnesses who say his actions earlier in the day he was shot.
Shelby’s team wanted the entered as evidence “to show his [Crutcher] past interactions with law enforcement helps prove why he was non-compliant prior to the shooting.”
The state objected saying, “Defendant is simply trying to cast Mr. Crutcher in a more negative light at trial.”
The court sided with the state.