More potential jurors excused in Mehserle trial

LOS ANGELES

Lawyers will spend the next few days reviewing questionnaires that asked prospective jurors their thoughts on everything from race and crime to police and class issues in the Bay Area.

Judge Robert Perry told jurors the trial for former officer Johannes Mehserle will last three to four weeks. Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant on the Fruitvale station platform New Year's Day 2009. His lawyers say it was an accident. Grant was unarmed and shot in the back.

The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of widespread publicity in the Bay Area. "We need jurors without bias… we need jurors to call it like you see it," Perry told the courtroom Thursday.

Jurors will be called back to court on Tuesday and Wednesday so that lawyers can select the final 12 and six alternates. Opening statements begin June 10.

Mehserle is being tried in the same Los Angeles criminal courthouse where the O.J. Simpson trial occurred. In mid-June, the BART shooting trial will take place on the same floor as a preliminary hearing for Dr. Conrad Murray, who faces charges in connection with the death of pop star, Michael Jackson.

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