Judge Rules On Potential Evidence, Witness Testimony In Yanez Trial

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — In just two weeks, the trial of Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile at a traffic stop in Falcon Heights last July, will begin.

On Tuesday morning in Ramsey County court, Judge William H. Leary heard arguments from both sides regarding what evidence and testimony jurors should be able to see and hear during the trial.

Judge Leary ruled jurors will not be able to travel to go see the car that Philando Castile was shot in in person. Instead, they will be able to see a video recording or photos of the vehicle.

The defense also wanted to have 30 challenges to potential jurors and up to six members of the defense counsel in the courtroom. Both of those requests were also denied.

Another motion dealt with Diamond Reynolds, the former girlfriend of Castile and perhaps the most important witness in this case. Reynolds was charged in February in connection with an assault where a woman was beaten with a hammer and has since pleaded not guilty.

The defense made a request to include Reynolds’ police testimony regarding that incident from March 2017 as it relates to Reynolds ability to tell the truth, but that motion was denied as well.

WCCO-TV spoke with Early Gray, one of Officer Yanez’s defense attorneys, after the hearing and even after some motions were denied. He says the defense is confident this is a case they can win.

“We got rulings that will help us defend the case. I mean, I am not going to comment on the judge’s rulings, but we have enough there to easily win the case,” said Gray.

The defense will be able to introduce evidence they claim proves Castile was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the shooting.  They will also be able to have several character witnesses to testify about who Officer Yanez is as a person and his character traits.

The trial will begin on May 30, when the process of jury selection starts.

Officer Yanez faces second-degree manslaughter and weapons charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

More from Mary McGuire
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