Local News

Police chief doesn't respond to subpoena in Durham officer's shooting trial

Posted August 10, 2015 5:21 p.m. EDT

— Prosecutors are close to wrapping up their case against a man accused of shooting a Durham police officer three years ago, but the focus Monday was primarily on the whereabouts of a potential defense witness.

Officer Kelly Stewart was shot in the thigh during a confrontation with Carlos Riley Jr. following a December 2012 traffic stop. Riley claims Stewart shot himself during a struggle.

Defense attorney Alex Charns subpoenaed Police Chief Jose Lopez last Friday, saying he wants the chief to testify about police department training and bring with him a year's worth of citations issued by Stewart.

Lopez didn't appear in court Monday, and Charns suggested a rocky history between him and the Durham Police Department might be to blame.

"That's a little bit of the history of why this police chief might not honor a subpoena from a criminal defense attorney who also represents folks who sue officers," he said.

A police department spokesman said Lopez was not properly served and is not fighting the subpoena, so Charns has resubmitted his subpoena.

While the matter of the chief's appearance was being sorted out, prosecutors put two more witnesses on the stand.

In his cross-examination of police Cpl. Thomas McMaster, Charns tried to show the police department's bias toward Stewart in their investigation.

"Is it your contention that you are a neutral investigator investigating this matter involving Investigator Stewart?" Charns asked.

"Regardless of who the alleged victim is, regardless who the alleged suspect is, my job is to investigate that crime and that incident fully," McMaster responded.

The defense is expected to start presenting its case Tuesday.