Jury selection begins in trial of man in killing of Baltimore County officer

April 20, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

After two days of delays, Richard Antonio Moore was given his first look yesterday at the people who might decide his fate.

Jury selection began in Harford County Circuit Court for Moore, 30, of Baltimore, who is charged with fatally shooting Baltimore County police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero last year.

Prothero, 35, a father of five, was shot three times Feb. 7 as he chased four men after a robbery at J. Brown Jewelers in Pikesville, where he was working part time as a security guard.

Three other defendants have been convicted of first-degree felony murder in the shooting, but Moore is the only one to face the possibility of the death penalty.

Selection was delayed Tuesday when Moore complained of digestive problems. The proceedings were halted Wednesday when sheriff deputies mistakenly barred the public from the courtroom and Moore requested a mistrial when he learned of the situation.

Moore sat attentively alongside his two public defenders yesterday as 55 prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom.

Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. asked the prospective jurors to stand or remain seated in response to a wide range of questions, including whether they had any knowledge of the case and their views on the death penalty.

Plitt told the group not to discuss the case with the media and said that if Moore is convicted, he could face a death sentence. He asked whether statements made by public officials regarding the death penalty would make it difficult to reach a verdict. No one said that such statements would.

Plitt also told prospective jurors that if Moore is convicted, the trial and sentencing phase together could take up to five weeks.

Nearly all began to stand when Plitt then asked whether any of them felt that jury service would pose a special hardship, but he added that having a job would not excuse them from jury service.

"Work does not qualify as a hardship," Plitt said.

The judge said he expects a jury to be selected by Wednesday.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.