Jurors quizzed on views of Muslims in Warren County shooting trial

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Jury to visit crime scene on Tuesday

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The jury in the trial of Mohammed Laghaoui on Tuesday will visit the scene of a shooting last June in Warren County that left a sheriff’s deputy wounded and the area on lockdown.

The jury was selected in six hours Monday, about the same amount of time from the start of the June incident until Laghaoui, now 20, returned to the Orchards of Landen apartment complex where he lived with his father and brother, ending the lockdown.

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Laghaoui’s lawyer, Nadeem Quraishi, questioned potential jurors on their opinions of Muslims and whether they thought Muslims were prone to violence.

Evidence indicates Laghaoui, a Moroccan raised in Butler County, was preparing to leave the country with an AK-47 at the time of the fight with his father and brother that brought Deputy Katie Barnes to their door twice that day.

So far, authorities have declined to comment on whether Laghaoui had been radicalized by extremists or was intent on terrorist violence when he quarreled with his family.

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Both Barnes and Laghaoui’s father were wounded during the shooting.

Laghaoui faces 10 charges ranging from the attempted murder of Barnes - a coach and former sports star in Mason - to domestic violence.

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After opening statements, prosecutors are expected to call Barnes and other law enforcement officials and use a wide range of photos, some bloody, and an AK-47 “exactly similar” to convince the jury that Laghaoui shot Barnes and his father and fired on another neighbor and into a neighboring apartment.

Quraishi is expected to work to show the jury that Laghaoui should be found not guilty by reason of insanity due to mental illness and use of synthetic marijuana.

The defense lawyer also repeatedly asked prospective jurors if they would use a gun to defend their families, indicating another potential element of his strategy.

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"We don't have to prove that he was not insane," Assistant County Prosecutor John Arnold said during jury selection.

Also Monday, Arnold indicated the Laghaouis worked at Kroger stores in the area.

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Among the potential jurors released was a Mason police officer who helped search for LaghaouiLaw enforcement officers from around the area assisted with the search and lockdown.

The trial was to take five days, but Judge Timothy Tepe - who took over the case in January after his election - acknowledged it was so far moving at “a snail’s pace.”

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Before releasing the jury Monday, Tepe said they would visit the scene to start off Tuesday and advised them not to discuss the case - even with their families.

“You can tell them that you had jury duty today, but you can’t talk about it until the trial is over,” Tepe said.

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