BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Officer William Porter is set to face jury again in June. The date was officially set Tuesday during a closed door hearing with attorneys. Porter is the first of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray to go on trial; his first ended in a mistrial last week.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren has details on the hearing and what could impact his retrial.
Porter’s retrial is now on the books but his testimony could be crucial for the next officer to go on trial for the state. The state is trying to get him on the witness stand; it’s like there’s some behind-the-scenes negotiations going on.
Baltimore is bracing for the next trial in the Freddie Gray case as the court formally moved the retrial of Officer William Porter to June. He’ll now be the last of all the defendants.
“The verdict should’ve already been out by now; instead it’s been postponed,” said Tammy Weaver.
“The best thing that they can do is just move all the cases out of Baltimore City,” said Kevin Womack Jr.
“I don’t understand why it’s dragged out so long,” said one woman.
Law professor Doug Colbert says a deal could still be in the works, where Officer Porter would testify against Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the police van driver whose trial is set to start next, in two weeks. Without a deal, prosecutors would probably not be able to introduce Porter’s statement, including that he told Goodson that Freddie Gray was having medical problems.
“If they wanted to convict Porter, they would have retried him next. The fact that he’s going at the very end suggests that there’s a lot of negotations and discussions that are taking place,” said Doug Colbert.
“That’s an easy way for him to get off. That’s an easy way to put the blame on somebody else,” said Alisha Doy.
While many court observers count Porter’s mistrial as a victory for the defense, Colbert believes the prosecution still has leverage.
“I always believe in the integrity of the prosecution. I never thought that this case would be brought for any other reason except that the evidence points to conviction,” Colbert said.
Prosecutor Jan Bledsoe told the judge she was ready for Porter’s retrial as her team moves forward on this new case and a city waits for some resolution that will bring closure and healing.
Officer Porter waived his right to be at the hearing Tuesday morning. His trial is scheduled for June 13.