Attorneys representing officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile want jurors to view Castile's car in person while Yanez recreates the traffic stop and testifies to his reaction that day.
The requests were among several motions filed Wednesday by the defense that address a range of issues from jury selection to Castile's alleged marijuana use to other evidence that could come into play during Yanez's May 30 trial.
The defense asked Ramsey County District Court Judge William H. Leary III to permit "members of the jury to see Mr. Castile's car in person, particularly the position of his seat, the driver's side window and the brake lights …" and " … at the same time, to see Officer Yanez demonstrate where he was, and to hear him testify about why he saw Castile's gun in his right hand, in the context of the car's physical presence."
A pretrial hearing, where the motions are likely to be heard, is scheduled for May 16.
"We will address the defense's motions in limine next week in court during the pretrial hearing," said Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney's office.
Yanez, 29, a St. Anthony police officer, was charged Nov. 16 with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm for killing Castile, 32, during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6. Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her then-4-year-old daughter were also in the car and Reynolds livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook.
The Ramsey County attorney's office believes Castile was reaching for his wallet to retrieve his driver's license when Yanez fired at him seven times.
The defense has argued that Yanez stopped Castile's car on Larpenteur Avenue because of a nonworking brake light and because he matched the description of a suspect who robbed a Lauderdale gas station at gunpoint. (Authorities have said Castile was not involved in the robbery.)
The defense's motions indicate that they will keep pursuing a line of defense introduced early in their case. Defense attorneys Paul Engh, Earl Gray and Thomas Kelly filed an unsuccessful motion in December asking for a dismissal of the entire case, arguing that Castile contributed to his own death by driving while high on marijuana.
Their motions Wednesday asked to admit evidence about Castile's "marijuana consumption in general, and his specific consumption of the drug shortly before the incident, reflective of his illicit habit." They want to include evidence of his conceal and carry application "where he lies about his marijuana consumption" and "testimony of Mr. Castile's custom and habit of not only smoking marijuana, but his repeated traffic violations for … driving after revocation and suspension."
"Had he told the truth as to his use and/or addiction, he would not have been allowed to carry a firearm on the day in question," the defense wrote. "His application is a business record, as well as a public record."
According to the criminal complaint filed against Yanez, Castile informed Yanez that he had a firearm on him when he was stopped, and the gun was later recovered at the scene. Castile had a permit to carry the gun.
The defense also asked that the number of challenges they receive to dismiss a potential juror during jury selection be increased from 5 to 30, that they be allowed to introduce testimony about Yanez's character and that potential jurors fill out jury questionnaires before May 30 so the defense can conduct independent background checks.
The defense has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to consider moving the trial to Brainerd, Duluth, Hastings or St. Cloud after the District Court and Court of Appeals denied the request.