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Testimony begins in trial of man charged with murder of CPD Officer Ella French

Testimony underway in trial of man charged in murder of CPD Officer Ella French
Testimony underway in trial of man charged in murder of CPD Officer Ella French 02:25

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Cook County jury on Tuesday watched the final moments of Chicago Police Officer Ella French's life, as testimony got underway in the trial of the man charged with shooting her and her partner nearly three years ago.

Jurors, along with French's family and colleagues, watched as prosecutors played body-worn camera footage from the night of the shooting on Aug. 7, 2021.

The courtroom fell silent, save for a few people crying, as the jury and French's family heard her final scream on the camera footage, and watched footage of the shooting from multiple angles.

Prosecutors showed video footage from Officer French's body-worn camera, as well as from Yanez Jr.'s camera, and from a third officer with them that day, Officer Joshua Blas.

Blas testified that he was driving with French and Yanez Jr. when they came across brothers Emonte and Eric Morgan driving a car with an expired plate, and pulled them over.

Blas testified Emonte Morgan, who is facing an 85-count indictment for the shooting – including multiple counts of murder – shot and killed Officer French, shot and wounded Yanez, and tried to shoot Blas as well, during a struggle after police stopped the Morgan brothers.

That followed emotional testimony from French's mother, who just before watching her daughters final moments play out in court talked about her last conversation with her daughter. Elizabeth French said she always talked to Ella as her daughter headed to work. She said she told her daughter to be safe, not knowing she'd die shortly after.

As the trial was underway, at an unrelated event, Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling said officers would be in the courtroom every day of the trial.

"We will always carry Ella's legacy with us, and her legacy of service. She was exactly what we expected a Chicago officer to be. It was a tragedy, but we're looking for justice now," he said.

During opening statements, defense attorneys said officers pulled Emonte Morgan over using incorrect license plate information, claiming they have evidence to prove this was not murder.

Emonte Morgan's mother said she'd asked her son to testify, but it's not yet clear if he'll actually take the stand. His brother, Eric Morgan, pleaded guilty last fall to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon, and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the shooting.

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