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Jury selection begins for N.H. cop killer

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Michael Addison, right, arrives as jury selection begins in Hillsborough Copunty Superior court in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Sept. 22. Addison is accused of shooting and killing Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006. (AP Photo/Bob LaPree)

The Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The state began picking a jury Monday for the capital murder trial of Michael Addison, who is accused of murdering a city police officer in October 2006.

At least eight of the 60 prospective jurors brought to Superior Court on Monday were excused; the rest filled out questionnaires that will be the basis for further screening by lawyers beginning as early as Tuesday.

"Your candor and honesty are essential in the selection of a fair and impartial jury," Judge Kathleen McGuire said.

Because of extensive publicity about the case, the court sent summonses to 1,200 people, four times the number typically called for first-degree murder cases. Groups of about 100 potential jurors will arrive each Thursday to start the screening process until 12 jurors and six alternates are chosen.

Prosecutors say Addison, 28, shot Officer Michael Briggs at close range early in Oct. 16, 2006. Briggs and his bicycle patrol partner, Officer John Breckenridge, were looking for suspects in an apartment shooting in which no one was injured when they came upon Addison and another man, Antoine Bell-Rogers, in an alley, according to court papers.

Briggs yelled, "Stop! Police!" court papers say. They say Bell-Rogers stopped, but Addison kept walking before partially turning around and raising his hands with Briggs right behind him. Breckenridge told investigators he then heard a shot.

Addison was arrested in Boston hours later.

The 134 questions cover prospective jurors' feelings about the death penalty, when they think it should be applied and whether they have any moral or religious reservations about it.

Other subjects include people's feelings on race, interracial marriage and whether potential jurors have witnessed or been the victim of racial prejudice. Addison is black, Briggs was white.

The 42-page questionnaire also asks potential jurors if they think Manchester has a serious crime problem, what might cause crime locally, what bumper stickers adorn their cars and if they have blogs or MySpace or Facebook pages.

Other questions ask what publications the potential jurors read, what radio shows they listen to and what television news programs they watch. Conservative talk show hosts Howie Carr and Rush Limbaugh, local television news, crime dramas and public television are specified in the questions.

McGuire read the jury pool the names of more than 350 potential witnesses, including about 90 past and present members of the Manchester Police Department, more than 35 members of the New Hampshire State Police and state forensic lab, 20 employees of the state prison system, and 50 members of other law enforcement agencies from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The witness list includes members of Addison's and Briggs' families.

McGuire told the potential jurors the trial could start as early as Oct. 6 and last for seven or eight weeks.

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