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Betty Shelby takes stand in own defense, alternate juror joins panel

Betty Shelby takes stand in own defense, alternate juror joins panel (KTUL)

Attorneys for Officer Betty Shelby continue their defense Monday and could rest their case in the near future.

Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing the unarmed Terence Crutcher in September 2016. Attorneys spent a little more than two days last week nailing down a jury before testimony began. The prosecution rested its case Friday.

Based on how quickly the defense conducts testimony, the defense could rest its case as soon as Monday afternoon or Tuesday. This story will be updated throughout the day.

Read more about the Terence Crutcher shooting death.

Update 11:40 a.m.

Shelby has taken the stand in her own defense.

Additionally, a juror has been dismissed due to illness. An alternate juror, a black man, has taken the previous juror's place.

The judge has also allowed the defense to bring up certain aspects of Crutcher's criminal history.

Update 12:15 p.m.

Prior to adjourning for lunch, Officer Betty Shelby testified about her childhood and her job as a police officer. She said she spent time in foster care after she and her sister were removed from her mother's home because her mother was unable to provide a clean and safe environment. Shelby and her sister were later taken in by an aunt.

Shelby said her first encounter with law enforcement was when she was 8 or 9 years old and ran away from home. She said a female officer found her and she decided she wanted to be just like the officer.

On the evening of Crutcher's shooting, Shelby said she envisioned police training videos and remembered thinking if she hesitated she could die. Shelby said she'd been told not to let a suspect pull his arm back if it appeared he was reaching into a vehicle because "they can pull out guns and kill you."

Shelby said she drew her weapon many times in the line of duty but never fired until her encounter with Crutcher.

Update 3 p.m.

Betty Shelby testified Monday afternoon that she was trained as a police officer to meet a weapon with a weapon, and when she encountered Terence Crutcher in September 2016, she believed he had a gun.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Grey tried to prove Shelby had ample opportunity to use less lethal force. Shelby said Crutcher would not comply with her commands to get on his knees. She said she talked to Crutcher for 3 minutes and 24 seconds before she shot him.

Shelby said she activated her body mic but it didn't record. She also said she didn't know about the vial of PCP that was found in Crutcher's vehicle until weeks later despite other officers knowing about it on the evening of the shooting.

Grey said Shelby has given several different accounts of her story to homicide investigators, "60 Minutes" and now in the courtroom. He said she told Sgt. Dave Walker Crutcher was either having a mental health issue or was high on PCP; however, in the courtroom she spoke of an odor of PCP that she smelled at the scene but never mentioned to investigators. Grey asked if she smelled an odor of PCP why would she ever consider it a mental health issue.

Grey also said Shelby gave different reasons for not turning on her dashboard camera. In one instance, he said Shelby said there was no enforcement, she was just checking on an abandoned vehicle. In another, he said she said it was more than just an abandoned vehicle.

Update 3:45 p.m.

Betty Shelby testified that Terence Crutcher caused his own death when she shot and killed him. She said on the stand Monday that his actions dictated hers. Shelby said she believed Crutcher had a gun and she had to "meet a gun with a gun."

Prosecutor Kevin Gray questioned Shelby, asking, "You were meeting a guess about a gun with your gun?" Shelby replied, "Yes."

Shelby said when she first encountered Crutcher, he had his head down and arms down and he was mumbling. She says she told him multiple times to get on his knees and to stop, but he didn't comply. When she told him to get on his knees, Shelby said she wanted to arrest him for public intoxication and obstruction.

Shelby testified that Crutcher was looking up at her through his brows with a scowl, and when she initially told him to take his hands out of his pockets he raised them into the air. She said he was sweaty and she could smell the chemical odor of PCP. Gray asked why she didn't tell Sgt. Dave Walker, the homicide detective, about the odor in her interview three days after the shooting. Shelby said she must have forgotten but said she mentioned it during her interview on "60 Minutes."

Shelby said when Crutcher put his hands in his pockets and looked toward his truck she thought he was trying to figure out where his gun was, but police later said Crutcher was unarmed and had no gun in his vehicle. She said when he looked up and heard sirens, he moved faster toward his vehicle where she believed he was going for a gun.

Shelby said on the night of the shooting, she recalled training videos that showed what could happen when a suspect returned to his vehicle.

"I am told in training you do not let them pull their arm back," she said.

Shelby said she did not hear Officer Tyler Turnbough when he arrived on scene and told her he was there, armed with his Taser.

Grey referenced the "60 Minutes" interview where Shelby told the reporter, "I didn't think this was just an abandoned vehicle." In Shelby's interview with Sgt. Walker,s he said she didn't turn on her dashboard camera because it wasn't a stop for enforcement but rather a hazard in the road. He said she also told Walker she pushed the button to start her body mic but it never activated.

Shelby kept her composure on the stand but did appear frustrated with the prosecutor at times.


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