Attorneys for the family of Bobby Moore, killed in 2012 by a Little Rock police officer investigating car break-ins, will hold a news conference today and call for another attempt to prosecute Josh Hastings in the death, citing a witness never interviewed by police.
Twice, mistrials were declared when juries couldn’t reach a verdict on charges brought against Hastings for killing Moore outside a West Little Rock apartment. Critical in the case was the credibility of Hastings’ account of events that night. Discrepancies in his account — including whether he was threatened by a car driven by Moore — led to charges in the first place. The case was dropped after the second mistrial.
Moore’s lawyers have talked with a resident of the apartment project where Moore was shot. She reportedly looked out her window that night and was spoken to by Hastings. It is the contention of Michael Laux, one of Moore’s attorneys, that her account further challenges Hastings’ account. Hastings was fired by the police department and no longer works as an officer. Laux sent this press conference notice:
During the course of the 2015 federal civil rights lawsuit we filed on behalf of the family of 15-year-old Bobby Moore (Perkins v. Hastings, et al.; 4:15-CV-310 BSM), we identified and deposed an eyewitness to the immediate aftermath of the August 12, 2012 shooting by problem officer, Josh Hastings. Despite this witness alerting the LRPD investigators in August 2012 to the fact that the witness observed Josh Hastings physically in the car containing Bobby, and within the vicinity of Bobby’s body, acting “panicky,” the witness was never questioned by the LRPD during its “independent” internal investigation.
Indeed, the LRPD never interviewed this witness, or even took a recorded statement. Consequently, this witness was never called at either of the unsuccessful criminal trials against Josh Hastings in June and September 2013. I submit to you that this independent lay witness is far more important than either of the ones who testified at the prior jury trials. In February 2016, I subpoenaed this witness, and took the witness’ deposition. Quite simply, the testimony of this very credible witness utterly contradicts the bogus rendition offered by Josh Hastings. This testimony is incredibly incriminating, and we intend to share it with you at the presser. In short, we firmly believe that if this witness had been called at either of the criminal trials, at least the second one would have resulted in an unanimous finding of guilt against Josh Hastings. To this end, we will be requesting that the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office criminally try Josh Hastings a third time, this time equipped with this important eyewitness.
I sought a comment from Prosecutor Larry Jegley. His response:
We cannot comment other than to say that we are aware of Mr. Laux’s request and observe that: ” two separate juries reached two polar opposite votes when this office put Hastings on trial for criminal homicide, resulting in hung-jury mistrials. An additional trial would be problematic in many ways. Whether any additional factors would have changed the result in either trial is pure speculation. This case remains a tragedy and this office remains committed to holding citizens accountable, police included, when the facts and evidence warrant.”