Interviews of potential jurors to continue June 13 in trial of B - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Interviews of potential jurors to continue June 13 in trial of BAFB airman's accused killer

Benjamin Shaw, charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Barksdale Air Force Base airman, leaves the Bossier Parish Courthouse in Benton on April 11. (Source: Nick Lawton/KSLA News 12) Benjamin Shaw, charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Barksdale Air Force Base airman, leaves the Bossier Parish Courthouse in Benton on April 11. (Source: Nick Lawton/KSLA News 12)
Tech. Sgt. Zechariah Casagranda. (Source: Facebook) Tech. Sgt. Zechariah Casagranda. (Source: Facebook)
BENTON, LA (KSLA) -

A Bossier District Court judge says jury selection will resume Tuesday morning in the trial of the man accused of killing a Barksdale Air Force Base airman.

Late Monday afternoon, attorneys still were interviewing the first 14 of 50 prospective jurors for the trial of 21-year-old Benjamin William Shaw on a charge of second-degree murder.

Bossier District Court Judge Michael Craig said they would wrap up proceedings for the day once those interviews were completed and will resume the interviews Tuesday morning at the parish courthouse in Benton.

Shaw is accused of fatally stabbing 34-year-old Tech. Sgt. Zechariah Casagranda during a fight Jan. 23, 2016, outside a nightclub that was Rockin' Rodeo at the time.

The judge informed state prosecutors and Shaw's attorney, Jose Baez, on Monday morning that interviews of the 50 prospective jurors would begin at 1 p.m. Monday.

Attorneys are interviewing jurors in groups of 14.

They are asking jurors a range of questions pertaining to their employment status, where they are from, where they live, their military status and whether anyone in their lives had been murdered.

Jurors who indicate they are or were in the military also are being asked if they can set aside those feelings and look at the evidence during the trial.

During Shaw's first court appearance since April 11, his attorney filed an objection against one of the pieces of evidence prosecutors submitted.

At issue is a photograph of Casagranda in his Air Force dress blues wearing his medals.

Baez argued that painting Casagranda in this light makes it a prejudiced case against Shaw.

The defense attorney admitted that bringing up Casagranda's military status during the trial might be unavoidable, but he said it should not count as a factor against his client.

"I don't think it's going to be avoidable. ... I just don't want it to be a feature of the trial," Baez said during the hearing.

While prosecutors told Craig they did not object to removing the photo of Casagranda from the trial, Craig ruled that any prejudicial impact the photo would have on a jury cannot be seen at this time.

"It's always precarious to try to deal with things that haven't happened yet," the judge said.

Craig ruled that any prejudicial impact on a jury should be handled contemporaneously during the trial and that jury members should have admonished against prejudice during the trial.

Both Baez and prosecutors told the judge that allegations have been made by witnesses of the fight that Casagranda had called Shaw a homosexual, which served to instigate the fight.

Attorneys for both sides also told the judge that some witnesses were perpetuating labels such as "Airmen vs. Gay Guys" or "Cowboys vs. Gay Guys."

"There's lots of labels being thrown around. ... Some of those labels are a bit unfair," Baez said.

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