Murder Trial for Austin Police Officer Begins Again

Jury selection begins Monday after May mistrial

The Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Austin (Photo by John Anderson)

One hundred Travis County residents have been summoned to the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center, Monday, Oct. 16, to determine if they are qualified to serve on the jury in the murder trial involving Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor for his 2020 on-duty killing of Michael Ramos.

The potential jurors will gather in a large auxiliary courtroom located on the first floor of the eight-story courthouse, where Travis County’s Special Prosecutor Gary Cobb and Taylor defense attorney Doug O’Connell will each spend two hours asking questions of the group in an attempt to identify individuals they think are incapable of fairly hearing evidence in the trial fairly and impartially.

The goal is to find 12 jurors and two alternates who can hear the evidence impartially and, ultimately, render a fair verdict. It is unlikely those 14 individuals will all be identified Monday (attorneys on each side can “strike” up to 10 jurors they think will not be impartial), so two more sets of 100 potential jurors will be summoned later in the week, as needed.

Taylor’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in May, but after a series of mishaps and difficulty seating a full jury, District Judge Dayna Blazey, who is presiding over the high-profile trial, declared a mistrial. But with the increased number of jury summons and extra time for jury selection, both sides are confident they’ll be able to find their 14 jurors and proceed to the trial for real.

We’ll be there when the courtroom doors open Monday morning and the rest of the week as jury selection unfolds. Check online for regular updates and our print edition Thursday, Oct. 19, for a story previewing the evidence phase of the trial, which is set to begin Monday, Oct. 23.

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