LOUISVILLE (Ky.) -- The jury hearing the case against Breonna Taylor, the sole criminally charged in the raid that led to her death, stepped off a gold-colored sheriff’s bus on Friday and walked silently through an apartment complex where Taylor died nearly two years ago.
Although Taylor's apartment in the southwest part of Kentucky's largest metropolis has been renovated, one bullet hole remains outside her bedroom.
Jurors visited the site to better understand the evidence presented in Brett Hankison's trial. He is a former Louisville officer. Three counts of wanton harm are brought against him. This felony carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.
The jurors were joined by Hankison's attorneys and the Attorney General's Office. They also visited an apartment nearby. Hankison was present in court on Friday morning but was absent during the site tour. After arriving 15 minutes early, jurors retreated to the bus and joined a small group of Jefferson County Sheriff's vehicles heading back to the courthouse.
Taylor, 26, was Black and worked as an emergency medicine technician. She was about to settle down for the night when officers from Louisville with a warrant for narcotics entered her home. They were attacked by Taylor's boyfriend who believed an intruder was breaking into her home. Taylor was killed by two officers who returned fire at her door. Both were not charged with her death. Her family settled for $12 million with the City of Louisville.
Taylor was not shot to death by Hankison, but some of the bullets he fired through Taylor’s sliding glass door, bedroom window, and bedroom window went into a neighbor's home, almost striking a man there. According to police officials, he shot blindly into Taylor's apartment.
In the summer 2020, Taylor's murder sparked protests that lasted months in downtown Louisville. Protesters demanded that officers involved in the raid are charged with murder. However, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron refused to give a grand jury the option to charge anyone with her death.
Cameron concluded that Taylor's boyfriend had shot Taylor first and the officers entered Cameron's apartment in self defense.
Judge Ann Bailey Smith directed jurors to not speak with the attorneys or each other during Taylor's visit.
As jurors or alternates, a total of 10 men have been sworn into office and five women. The judge has not given any information about the judges' race or ethnicity.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother and Juniyah Palmer, her sister, also participated in Friday morning's trial.
Prosecutors argued earlier this week that Hankison fired blindly through Taylor’s apartment, endangering her neighbors. He also escalated the situation by shouting at a neighbor for his safety. She noticed that Hankison was firing in a different direction to the other officers once the shooting began.
Stewart Mathews, defense attorney, maintained that Hankison was justified shooting in the 10 to 15 chaotic second period between when Taylor's door was opened and when the shooting stopped. Mathews stated that the former officer was trying to "protect and save the lives" of his fellow officers.
It is expected that the trial will last approximately two weeks.