Testimony starts today in trooper’s trial

Ivan “Gene” Lawyer

A jury of four men and 10 women, among them a local financial adviser and upper-level banking executive, will hear opening statements today in the trial of a Colorado State Patrol trooper charged in the 2010 death of Redlands resident Jason Kemp.

The jury was sworn-in about 5:30 p.m. Monday by District Judge Richard Gurley after nearly five hours of questions from District Attorney Pete Hautzinger and Malcolm Seawell, a Denver attorney and co-counsel defending State Trooper Ivan “Gene” Lawyer.

Opening statements are expected shortly after 9:30 a.m. today.

The District Attorney’s Office is expected to lead its case with testimony from Mesa County Sheriff’s investigator Jim Hebenstreit and witnesses from the scene of Kemp’s shooting death on July 20, 2010.

Lawyer has pleaded not guilty to charges, which were lodged by a Mesa County grand jury in August 2010, of criminally negligent homicide, second-degree assault, illegal discharge of a firearm and first-degree criminal trespass, as well as misdemeanor charges of prohibited use of a weapon and criminal mischief.

The jury was selected from a pool of 88 residents, all of whom completed pre-service questionnaires and were gathered Monday afternoon in Gurley’s courtroom.

Rose Anne Kelley, Mesa County’s jury commissioner, said about 42 percent of the nearly 500 summonses, which were mailed out in Lawyer’s trial, were returned as undeliverable because of outdated address information from the State Court Administrator.


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