Jury Selection Set For Wednesday In Lawlor Police Shooting Case
October 27, 2009
HARTFORD — - Jury selection begins Wednesday in the trial of a former Hartford police detective accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Jashon Bryant and wounding another person while working with federal authorities on an anti-gun task force in May 2005.
Robert Lawlor, who served 18 years with the Hartford police force, faces charges of manslaughter and assault in connection with the shooting of Bryant. Lawlor says he saw Bryant reaching for a gun while in the passenger seat of a car, but no gun was found.
Preliminary court motions, including a defense motion to dismiss the case, will be argued today at Superior Court.
Lawlor was working with an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when he saw Bryant holding a gun as Bryant got into a friend's car, authorities said. The officers approached the car, and when the vehicle began moving, Lawlor fired five shots.
Lawlor told police that he feared the federal agent was about to get hit by the car and that he believed Bryant was reaching for a gun. Police found cocaine but no weapon.
Bryant died instantly while his companion, Brandon Henry, who was shot in the chest, crashed the car into a parked car several blocks away.
Lawlor was arrested in June 2006.
Bryant's grandmother, Betty Bryant, 67, of Hartford, said Monday that her family is relieved that the trial is starting.
"We feel like we've been waiting a long time for this," she said.
A Superior Court judge in spring 2008 ordered attorneys in the case to prepare for trial but the state Supreme Court halted the proceedings to settle a dispute about whether all of the evidence presented to the grand jury that led to the charges against Lawlor had been disclosed to defense lawyer Michael Georgetti, who was seeking the documents.
In August, the Supreme Court ruled that Lawlor did not have a right to see the application or order for a grand jury probe.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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