Jury selection begins for man accused of killing Florida fish and wildlife officer
HENDRY COUNTY, Florida. The trial of the man who investigators say killed a Florida State Fish and Wildlife (FWC) officer in Hendry County began on Tuesday.
Eliseo Hernandez, 23, faces several charges, including second-degree murder for the murder of 30-year-old officer Julian Keane. The fatal shooting occurred back in 2020 near Nobles Road and 78 County Road in LaBelle, where the officer’s body was found.
Wednesday was the start of juror selection and ended with five jurors selected, but not all members seated.
“As we begin this trial, Mr. Hernandez is presumed to be innocent,” Judge James Sloan said.
HAPPENING NOW: Eliseo Hernandez, 23, has just entered the courtroom. This is the man accused of killing a Florida fish and wildlife officer. Jury selection for the trial is expected to begin in about 45 minutes. https://t.co/teNmc5RYmW
— Briana Brownlee (@BreBrownleeTV) March 7, 2023
Hernandez, 23, sat in the courtroom with his family in the audience as he looked into the eyes of people who could potentially decide the outcome of a case for the rest of his life.
During the shooting two years ago, those who knew Officer Keane spoke to FOX 4, leaving those who knew him in complete shock and those who loved him completely heartbroken.
“I just want to apologize to his family. He is better now,” said Erica Garcia, a friend of Officer Keene.
“He became like a son to me. He always came and did something. When Hurricane Irma hit, he came and started my generator, brought fuel and took no money,” said Terry Pierce, Officer Keene. Landlord.
Court documents tell a story dating back to the summer of 2020, when Hendry County deputies found Officer Keane lying in a ditch after being shot in the chest. Investigators say Officer Keene and another man saw Hernandez driving recklessly, and when an off-duty officer tried to stop him, investigators said Hernandez killed him.
“Who’s going to kill someone so popular, so friendly, so wonderful?” Pierce asked.
At the end of the first day, a second group of potential jurors were called into court to begin the selection process. Jury selection is expected to continue on Wednesday morning.
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