Phillips trial begins Monday | WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Jury selection begins Monday morning in Kanawha County Circuit Court in the Joshua Phillips murder trial.
Phillips, 39, of Charleston, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2020 death of Charleston police officer Cassie Johnson.
Phillips shot Johnson during an altercation on December 1, 2020 on Garrison Avenue. Johnson fired back at Phillips. Johnson died two days later. Phillips was hospitalized for several days.
Constable Johnson was responding to a parking complaint when the altercation took place. Prosecutors allege Phillips was in the area for drug trafficking.
Phillips recently told a reporter that the shooting was in self-defense.
A grand jury charged Phillips with murder, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and four drug counts.
At a hearing last week, Phillips’ attorneys asked Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey to grant a change of venue due to the publicity surrounding the case. Bailey said she planned to move forward with jury selection on Monday, but left the door open to a possible change of venue if there were issues seating a 12-member jury.
“I think it would be prudent to stay the decision, which I will do. We will proceed to a voir dire of the jury. I hope that with the benefit of the questionnaire and there can be jurors with whom the parties can agree,” Bailey said during last week’s hearing.
In a pretrial order regarding media coverage of the trial, Bailey said the court expects about 70 potential jurors to appear as jurors on Monday.
Jury selection is due to start at 8:30 a.m.