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Former Culpeper Police Officer Murder Trial Underway - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Former Culpeper Police Officer Murder Trial Underway

Posted: Updated: Jan 24, 2013 12:34 AM EST

 An emotional interrogation tape took center stage at Daniel Harmon-Wright's murder trial.

He's the Culpeper town police officer accused of killing a woman last February.

Wednesday at Culpeper Circuit Court, the special prosecutor involved began to lay out his case.

The jury will take 10 days to sort through what happened in 45 seconds. Was the shooting justified to free the officer's hand, and to neutralize a potential threat to downtown Culpeper?

During opening statements, it was said that a school administrator was the first to ask Patricia Cook to leave the catholic school parking lot last February. Cook did not and that's when Culpeper town police got involved.

Jurors heard a lengthy interrogation tape recorded two hours after the shooting. Prosecutors say there are inconsistencies with Daniel Harmon-Wright's account of what happened from the time his arm was trapped in Cook's jeep window to the final shot fired from his gun.

Harmon-Wright told investigators when he confronted cook she would not give him her license. There was a tug of war. She rolled her window up on his arm and drove off. Harmon-Wright said he pulled his gun out and told Cook several times that he would shoot if she didn't stop and then did.

Also in the tape, Harmon-Wright told investigators he was recently reprimanded for excessive force. At points, he got emotional saying, "You don't expect this from some lady parked in a school parking lot." He went on to say, "there was something about her that just seemed off."

The medical examiner also testified Wednesday. The doctor said five of the Culpeper town police officer's bullets hit Patricia Cook. The fatal ones hit her brain and severed her spine.

The judge also handled a number of motions Wednesday morning. The only one of interest is the possibility of the jury taking a trip to the scene of the incident. Prosecutors say it will help jurors orient themselves with multiple scenes.

The judge did not make a ruling in that Wednesday. The prosecution tells NBC29 the trail could wrap up as early as Friday.

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