Officer Betty Shelby Back In Court Ahead Of Her Tulsa Trial

Friday, April 21st 2017, 1:05 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby is about two weeks away from her trial, but Friday she was in court for a pre-trial hearing.

Jurors will decide if she's guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher.

For about two hours Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys argued about their witnesses and evidence.

Defense attorney Shannon McMurray said she expects the state to argue Shelby overreacted and acted unreasonably when she shot Crutcher last September.

McMurray said she’s heard comments from people asking why Shelby didn’t shoot Crutcher in the foot or use a Taser, which is why, she argues, the jury needs to be educated on Tulsa Police policies and understand what officers are trained to do.

Prosecutors say they anticipate they'll have about 20 witnesses and argued officers come in contact with people who are high or intoxicated on a regular basis, but they don't shoot them.

Judge Doug Drummond said he will allow an expert to testify on the effects of PCP but not specifically Crutcher's history with PCP.

Terence Crutcher Police Shooting

The judge also said the court has not decided if Crutcher's criminal history will be evidence in the trial.

But what the court has decided is that witnesses observing what they describe as Crutcher's "odd behavior" the same day he was shot can be used as evidence; and, witnesses calling 911 several times about Crutcher before he was shot can also be used as evidence.

Court is in recess until Friday, April 28th, when Drummond said he hopes to have the jury questionnaire ready and tie up any loose ends on witnesses and evidence that will be used in the trial.

4/12/2017 Related Story: Betty Shelby Defense Attorneys Told To Deactivate Social Media Pages

The judge also mentioned he's been getting a lot of questions about having enough room in the courtroom for the trial.

He says he intends to designate one row for Terence Crutcher's family, one row for Betty Shelby's family and have space for the news media. Beyond that, Judge Drummond says space will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.