PITTSBURGH - UPDATE TUESDAY 1/22/19: The jury in the case of Officer Michael Rosfeld, who is charged in the shooting death of Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh, will come from Dauphin County, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered.
A jury from outside Allegheny County will hear the case of an East Pittsburgh police officer accused in the shooting death of Antwon Rose, a judge ruled Monday.
Officer Michael Rosfeld is charged with criminal homicide in the death of Rose, who was shot as he and another teenager ran from a traffic stop on the night of June 19. Rose was unarmed.
WPXI's Rick Earle said the judge granted the motion citing pretrial publicity and intense media scrutiny as reasons a jury would not be fair and impartial.
Judge Alex Bicket also cited numerous protests in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities last summer, saying they may be a basis for potential juror bias.
The judge also said on three separate occasions, he questioned jurors and each time, more than 76 percent had heard or read about the case.
Since the shooting death of Rose last June until November, court documents indicate 378 articles about the case had been posted online.
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The judge wrote a change of venire is the only mechanism to assure that the defendant is tried by a jury that has not been adversely affected by the pervasive pretrial publicity.
Channel 11 legal analyst Phil DiLucente would not discuss the Rosfeld case specifically, but said pretrial publicity is a concern in certain cases.
"Anytime you have trial publicity, the argument is that there is potentially bias," he said. "So long as they claim when they get up to that table that they'll be fair and impartial then it really doesn't matter, because the numerous high-profile cases I've had they've heard about, but they don't know anything else other than they heard about it."
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide what county will be used for jury selection. The Allegheny County District Attorney's office had no comment on the outside jury.
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