Dan Blasdel, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel listens as Walla Walla County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabe Acosta questions potential jurors during the opening this morning of a coroner's inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira.
Photo by Andy Porter.
Walla Walla It took Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel just over an hour to select six jurors and two alternates as the inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira began this morning.
The inquest was called late last month by Walla Walla County Cornoer Richard Greenwood, who asked Blasdel to preside.
Chavira was shot May 4 by New York Store owner John Saul, who claimed self defense after the shooting, which sparked a number of protests in Walla Walla by Chavira’s friends and family. After Jury selection this morning, Carmelinda Alejandre, Chavira’s mother, stated she is still seeking justice for her son.
In interviews with reporters, Alejandre said she knows her son committed a crime, but she believes Saul did, too.
“My son was running,” Alejandre said. “Nothing happened inside the store. I want justice.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabriel Acosta conducted questioning during jury selection this morning, and asked jurors to identify anything that would prevent them from being fair and impartial during the inquest. Roughly 48 potential jurors were selected from the county jury pool, and narrowed down to just eight by 10:30. Several jurors were dismissed before final selection because they said they did not feel they could be fair and impartial. Seven of the final eight jurors are women.
The inquest was recessed following the final jury selection, and scheduled to resume at 1 p.m.