- Brian Chilson
- Defense attorney Bill James
More from David Koon, reporting from the manslaughter trial of former Little Rock Police Officer Josh Hastings. Background on the case and previous updates here.
Keontay Walker, who was in the car with the victim, Bobby Moore Jr., and Jeremiah Johnson, just testified. Walker, 17, said that he had known Moore since 3rd grade. Walker said they’d been downtown the night of the shooting looking for a party before deciding to go “checking cars” at the Shadow Lake Apartments between 4 and 5 a.m. Walker he’d acted as the lookout.
Walker said he was the first to see a flashlight, then heard “It’s Little Rock Police! Stop the car!” He said before he saw the officer’s gun and badge, the Honda Civic Moore was driving and in which he and Walker were passengers was around 20 feet away from Hastings and traveling about 15 mph. He said he, Johnson and Moore started “negotiating” over whether to run. He said Moore began to slow and came to a complete stop 10 feet from Hastings. Walker said he dropped down under the dash, felt the car jerk into reverse, heard Hastings say, “Stop or I’ll shoot”, then heard the shots.
“I heard Lil’ Bobby take a deep breath, and when I rose up, the car was rolling backwards,” Walker said. The car then bonuced off a curb and hit an awning and a parked car.
On cross examination, Walker told defense attorney Bill James the three only broke into three cars at Shadow Lake that night, including a car that sounded a car alarm and a car in which they broke a window. Asked by James what they did during the hour they were at the complex (“Were y’all taking naps between cars?” James said), Walker said they were checking for unlocked cars, and had only gotten into three. He said it was the first time they ever broke a window while “checking cars”
James repeatedly called the passengers seat “shotgun” at one point during questioning, before Judge Wendell Griffen asked him to approach to approach the bench. After conferring with Griffen, James referred to Walker’s position in the car as “the front seat.”
Repeatedly, Walker insisted the car came to a stop and was in reverse at the time of the shooting, saying that the only time Moore sped was when he turned out of a parking spot in the lot.
Koon said further questioning from Walker is expected following a break.
UPDATE: Koon reports that there were no big developments after afternoon recess, though Griffen did have to admonish attorneys again to abide by his “kindergarten rule” and not speak over each other and witnesses. At one point, defense attorney James showed two diagrams, one drawn by LRPD detctives and the other drawn by Pulaski County prosecutors. Walker had drawn a circle on one and an x on the other to indicate where Hastings was as car approached him. James made the point that while one showed Hastings near a curb, the other showed Hastings in the middle of the street. In closing his questions, James asked Walker if he was upset and mad because his friend was killed. Walker answered “Yes, sir.” James then asked Walker if he was mad at Hastings for killing his friend, and Walker answered “Yes, sir.” Later on redirect, Prosecutor John Johnson asked Walker if he would lie to the jury to get Hastings convicted of a crime, and Walker said, “No sir.”
An earlier version of this post misspelled Keontay Walker’s name.