CINCINNATI - Testimony began Wednesday in thewho is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter for the July 2015 fatal shooting of Sam DuBose after a traffic stop for a missing front license plate near campus.
Tensing’s attorney has said he feared for his life as DuBose tried to drive away, using his car as “a weapon.” DuBose, 43, was shot once in the head. The defense attorney also told jurors that DuBose was desperate to get away because he had enough marijuana in his car to face a felony conviction.
DuBose had a long history of traffic and marijuana-related convictions, but his family says he wouldn’t have been a threat to a police officer.
Prosecutor Joe Deters says Tensing was lying when he said he was in danger of being dragged to death.
If convicted of murder, Tensing, who is white and 26, faces 15 years to life in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.
CBS affiliate WKRC reports that on Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from one civilian witness and two police officers, and watched three videos from the officers’ body cameras from the incident.
UC police officers David Lindenschmidt and his field training officer Philip Kidd said they were in the area when they heard that Ray Tensing was trying to pull over a car on Thill Street that was “slow to stop.” That term reportedly indicated to both that the stop could lead to trouble for Tensing. They also both testified that they were warned about Thill Street because a gang was operating in the area.
The station reports that when they pulled up, the officers spotted Tensing standing on the driver’s side door of DuBose’s car. Kidd says officers are trained to stand slightly behind the driver’s window in what’s called the “B Pillar.” Kidd saw Tensing slightly in front of the B Pillar and saw Tensing reach into DuBose’s car. He testified that they’ve been trained not to do that.
According to the station, the prosecution asked Kidd if a UC officer makes a traffic stop and the driver tries to leave the scene, would that officer be justified in shooting that person? Kidd answered no. When the defense attorney asked if that changed when the officer believed he was in danger, Kidd said yes. Kidd was also asked if it’s policy never to shoot at a moving car. He answered yes. He also said they are told to stop a threat.
The prosecution then called for Alicia Napier, according to WKRC. Napier testified that she had just buckled her children in her car when she saw DuBose’s car stop with Tensing behind him.
WKRC reports that Napier seemed confused on a lot of details. She thought DuBose had shot Tensing and she thought she heard two shots fired. She testified that Tensing was not “attached to the car.” She told the court that she heard the shot fired before the car was moving.
The last witness on the stand on Wednesday was DuBose’s fiancee Dashonda Reid. She testified that the 1997 Honda Accord DuBose was driving was hers. She has a second car that she primarily drives.
Reid reportedly testified that DuBose had her permission to drive her car that day but she did not know what he was doing. She says she only learned that there was marijuana in the car when the information was released to the media. She also said the car could be hard to drive because the brake pads were wearing out.