Murder Trial for Ex-Culpeper Officer Begins - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Murder Trial for Ex-Culpeper Officer Begins

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The murder trial of a former Culpeper police officer started Tuesday in Culpeper County Circuit Court. Daniel Harmon-Wright is accused of fatally shooting 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook on Feb. 9, 2012.

Harmon-Wright is charged with murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in a death, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police said Harmon-Wright was responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in a church parking lot when he shot Cook, who was unarmed. Special Prosecutor Tim Fisher says Harmon-Wright shot Cook seven times, including twice at point-blank range on north East Street.

Defense attorney Daniel Hawes says Cook was a threat, allegedly rolling up her car window on the officer's hand and driving oddly, with a large sunshade blocking the windshield of her Jeep Wrangler.

Jury selection dominated day one of the trial. A pool of 100 jurors was called for selection. Questions for the potential jurors ranged from concerns or positions dealing with guns or firearm advocacy groups, ties to law enforcement, and general opinions about authorities in Culpeper. A 14 member jury has been selected.

Harmon-Wright was fired from his job in June 2012 following his indictment by a grand jury. It is likely his troubled past come up again in court. At a hearing in June, Harmon-Wright admitted to having alcohol issues and was disciplined four times by the Marine Corps.

A motions hearing will be held at 9:00 Wednesday morning and opening arguments are set to begin at 9:30.

Special Prosecutor Tim Fisher says he thinks the case will be done by the end of the week.

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