Trial for man accused of killing Charleston police officer will stay in Kanawha County

Trial for man accused of killing Charleston police officer will stay in Kanawha County
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 11:38 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – After being delayed due to an inadequate jury pool, a jury has been seated, a venue selected and opening statements have begun in the trial against a man accused of killing a Charleston police officer.

Joshua Phillips, 38, of Charleston, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charleston Patrolman Cassie Johnson. Officer Johnson was shot on December 1, 2020, while responding to a traffic complaint.

The trial began Monday with opening statements and emotional testimonies from emergency officials and eye witnesses.

The prosecution opened the trial detailing evidence they plan to present, including police body cam video.

The defense wrapped up opening statements claiming Phillips acted in self-defense Dec. 1 and video evidence will prove that to be true.

First to the stand was Metro 911 worker Mike Fannin. Jurors heard the audio recording of the initial 911 to police from a homeowner, advising officials that an unknown vehicle is parked on their property,

The second audio recording played in court was of a caller advising police that an officer had been shot on Garrison Avenue. The caller also described the accused shooter in the recording.

The next individual to take the stand was eyewitness Michael Ostricker. He recalled what he saw unfold from his home the night of the shooting. He told the court he heard an officer say to the accused shooter “don’t do this.” He also told the court he saw the defendant pull out a gun. Once he heard shots fired, Ostricker told the jury he returned to his home to get his own gun. By the time he returned outside, Ostricker testified that the defendant was driving away from the scene.

Ostricker said he found the officer surrounded by a pool of dark blood. He provided police with video taken from his camera.

Before the trial wrapped up for the day, the newly seated jury was also shown security video and cellphone video from the day Officer Johnson was shot. In the video, gunshots could be heard along with a car driving off. A police vehicle could also be seen parked in the street.

The trial against Phillips will begin against at 9 a.m. Tuesday in a Kanawha County courtroom.

Monday was the third day of jury selection for the trial against Phillips. Fourteen jurors have been selected along with two alternates.

Monday before opening statements began, Judge Jennifer Bailey denied the defense’s request for a change in venue.

The judge sided with the state Monday morning, ruling Phillips will stand trial in Kanawha County.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The judge sided with the State Monday morning, ruling the trial for a man accused of killing a Charleston police officer will stay in Kanawha County.

The defense had requested a change in venue due to the publicity of the case and of Officer Cassie Johnson’s death.

The State argued Joshua Phillips would get a fair trial in the county after interviewing potential jurors who said while familiar with Phillips, they could stay objective.

Monday, Judge Jennifer Bailey denied the defense’s request.

Monday was the third day of jury selection for the trail against Phillips. Fourteen jurors have been selected along with two alternates.

Joshua Phillips, 38, of Charleston, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charleston Patrolman Cassie Johnson. Officer Johnson was shot on December 1, 2020, while responding to a traffic complaint.

Phillips is also facing possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Officer Cassie Johnson
Officer Cassie Johnson(WSAZ)

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