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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Jury selection for the new trial for Christopher Taylor, an Austin Police officer accused of murder in a 2020 deadly shooting, is now set to begin Oct. 16, according to court proceedings Wednesday.
The trial was supposed to begin May 24, but there were several snags throughout the jury selection process.
Christopher Taylor, 31, is accused of shooting and killing Michael Ramos, 42, during a confrontation with police in a south Austin apartment complex parking lot in April 2020.
Taylor is currently on administrative leave from the department.
The defense is also in the process of filing a request for a change of venue. That could impact the start date. Additionally, prosecutors declared plans to file a motion for a “limited” gag order related to the case. We will update this story once a decision is made regarding these motions.
First round of jury selection
The judge was forced to dismiss all potential jurors who showed up for jury selection on May 22. Taylor’s attorney Ken Ervin told KXAN the doors to the courtroom were locked while the state conducted jury selection, which is not allowed.
The judge was unaware this had happened.
Ervin said if the error was discovered after the fact, any trial decisions — including conviction — would be reversed. He said there was no point in not dismissing the jury Monday.
At the end of the following day of jury selection, the court did not end the day with enough jurors to proceed to trial.
This continued to happen throughout the week, with the judge ultimately declaring a mistrial on May 26.
In December 2020, Ramos’ mother, Brenda, sued the City of Austin and Taylor in a wrongful death civil lawsuit, which claims Taylor shot Mike without justification.
“Any competent police officer would have known that shooting a suspect in the head because he was driving away from police and bystanders—toward a dead-end blocked by dumpsters and a building—was a gross civil rights violation,” the lawsuit reads.
In 2021, a Travis County grand jury returned an indictment for Taylor.
Former prosecutor Gary Cobb is coming out of retirement to help with the murder trial. Travis County District Attorney José Garza made a special request for Cobb to help with the case, according to a source who asked to remain anonymous because of their proximity to the case.
In July 2019, Taylor was accused of shooting and killing 46-year-old Mauris Nishanga DeSilva in downtown Austin during a check welfare call. In addition to a murder charge, he also faces a charge of deadly conduct for the discharge of a firearm related to the 2019 incident. This case is still going through the court process.