WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) — Jury selection in the murder trial of a former Ohio sheriff’s deputy was expected to continue into a second day, a court official said.
An official with the court clerk’s office said jury selection began Monday and would continue Tuesday in the trial of ex-deputy Joel Jenkins in Pike County Common Pleas Court in Waverly. Jenkins was on duty working for the Pike County Sheriff’s Office on March 28, 2015, when a fleeing driver in a high-speed chase was fatally shot.
Jenkins, of Waverly, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and reckless homicide in the death of Robert Rooker, 26.
Few details have emerged about what specifically led to the murder charge against Jenkins. The former Pike County sheriff said at the time that Rooker rammed his truck into deputies’ cruisers prior to the shooting.
Attorney, Mark Collins, told The Columbus Dispatch that Jenkins feared for his life following a 15-mile high-speed chase along country roads and that evidence will show that his actions were reasonable given the situation.
Jenkins also is charged in the fatal shooting of a neighbor on Dec. 3, 2015. Authorities said Jenkins, who was off-duty at the time of that shooting, told them that he was showing 40-year-old Jason Brady a gun when it went off accidentally. The fatal shooting occurred in Jenkins’ home in Waverly.
Jenkins pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide and tampering with evidence in Brady’s death. Court records do not list a date for that trial.
The county prosecutor and the sheriff recused themselves from both cases involving Jenkins, asking that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation handle the investigation. BCI is under the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting both cases.
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