LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The jury trial for Roger Burdette, the man charged with killing a Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) detective in a crash in 2018, is underway. Jury selection began Tuesday morning.
The morning started with 50 potential jurors. Judge McKay Chauvin explained the case and asked a series of questions about whether potential jurors would or wouldn’t be able to fairly hear the case.
He also asked about injuries or medical conditions that would prevent anyone from serving.
Before handing the floor to the prosecutors and defense, Chauvin asked the potential jurors to consider whether they had close connections to or feelings towards law enforcement.
Around 11:45 Tuesday morning, the prosecution began their questions, including whether potential jurors had knowledge about any of the witnesses or their industries. Those included LMPD, KSP, MSD and Metro Corrections.
The defense focused questioning around potential juror's prior knowledge of and emotions about the case.
The court settled on the final 14 jurors, 9 women and 5 men, who heard opening arguments.
During opening statements, prosecutors said Roger Burdette was under the influence of prescription drugs and watching a pornographic video at the time of the crash.
"He was choosing Roger Burdette, he disregarded safety of every one else and made choice after choice that showed substantial disregard for the safety of others," Commonwealth's attorney Ryane Conway said.
The defense said, though the crash was tragic, Burdette is innocent of the charges.
"All of this is to keep up the façade that what happened on December 24th, that this accident is murder, and that there's a villain to be blamed but the truth and the evidence are not that simple," attorney for the defense Ryan Dischinger said.
After opening arguments, the jury heard from the first witnesses, including an employee from the Muhammad Ali Center to go over security camera video showing the crash, and an LMPD officer.
They also watched a series of body camera videos from first responders on the scene, who spoke about what they saw.
The court is expected to pick back up Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
Roger Burdette, a former Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) driver, crashed his truck into LMPD Detective Deidre Mengedoht's cruiser while she was conducting a traffic stop on I-64 on Christmas Eve in 2018. Mengedoht was killed in the crash.
After the crash, Burdette failed a field sobriety test and admitted to officers that he had taken multiple prescription drugs on the scene of the crash, according to his arrest report.
Additional court documents released earlier this year say Burdette was watching pornographic videos on his phone around the time of the crash.
Burdette was charged with murder, four counts of wanton endangerment, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and failing to give the right of way to a stopped emergency vehicle.
Burdette's trial was supposed to begin over the summer but was delayed due to the availability of a necessary witness.