Prosecutors and defense attorneys dismissed 16 potential jurors Monday for the trial of a former Chandler police officer.
Sixty-two prescreened jurors are scheduled to show up today to continue the process of finding a 12-member panel to hear the case against Daniel Lovelace.
Lovelace is charged with second-degree murder and endangerment in the Oct. 11, 2002, shooting death of an Ahwatukee Foothills woman who tried to flee while he questioned her about trying to fill a fraudulent prescription at a Chandler drive-through pharmacy.
Dawn Rae Nelson, 35, was shot from behind while her 14-month-old son was in the back seat of her car.
Judge James Keppel of Maricopa County Superior Court said he expects the jury to be selected today. The 16 potential jurors were excused Monday on the basis of answers they gave in questionnaires on May 17.
Keppel excused them for a variety of reasons such as prejudging Lovelace’s guilt, language barriers, discomfort in passing judgment, and knowing Lovelace or witnesses scheduled to testify.
Lovelace’s expected defense is that he fired his handgun because he feared for his life as Nelson turned her car’s steering wheel toward him.
On Monday, Keppel rejected the state’s motion to keep a memory expert from testifying for Lovelace.
Lovelace’s defense attorney, Craig Mehrens, said Elizabeth Loftus, a professor
of psychology at the University of California at Irvine, is a leading expert on the vagaries of "what people think they see when they witness something."
Keppel said he will not allow Loftus to assess the credibility of witnesses.
Opening statements and testimony will not begin in the trial until June 8, after Keppel returns from vacation.