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Trial of Jorge Banda is finally underway

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

After nearly five years of delays and another two weeks spent selecting a jury, the trial of Jorge Banda is finally underway.

"The jury took a while because it used a process involving questionnaires so that always takes a bit longer," Shani Jenkins said. "It's a questionnaire 15 pages long. It gives attorneys more time to see who they are and if they have any biases in the case."

Our cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, but the prosecution played a video recording for the jury. It showed Banda dressed in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, walking detectives through what happened the day of the shooting.

Banda told them in the interview he had a loaded gun in his front-right pocket with five bullets inside. He said he fired them all at the deputy after he pulled over on the side of the road and began questioning him about why he was there.

"Currently he's facing one count of murder," Shani Jenkins said. "There are special circumstances attached as well as special allegations for use of a firearm - and as a result he's looking at life in prison without the possibility of parole."

Several witnesses also took the stand including a brother and sister who said they saw Banda walk out of an orange grove near Road 156 and Avenue 344, and open fire on the deputy. They told the jury they called 9-1-1 and remained in the area keeping watch of Banda until help arrived.

The prosecution claims Banda fired at haws to advance his status within a gang, but the defense says Banda suffers from a mental disability and had thought about committing suicide before the shooting took place. It's now up to the jury to decide his mental state. The trial is expected to take several weeks.

Day one wrapped up just a little while ago. The prosecution said it had 10 witnesses lined up to take the stand. We're expecting to hear more from them Wednesday morning.

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Tags:
crimetracker, murder, shooting, court, tulare county, tulare, local, linda mumma
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