Trial begins in Carbondale Taser case
After more than five hours of jury selection and instructions from Judge John Collins, the trial of Carbondale resident Stephen Horn finally began in Carbondale Municipal Court late Wednesday afternoon.On Aug. 6, 2004, Carbondale police officer Joseoz repeatedly hit Horn with a “stun gun” after stopping him for allegedly running a stop sign while helping set up for the KDNK Blues and Barbecue event on Main Street.According to police reports, Horn disobeyed the officer’s command to stay in his pickup truck and walked up to Muñoz’s patrol car in what the officer believed was a threatening manner.Horn is charged with failing to stop for a stop sign, disregard for a lawful order of a police officer and resisting arrest.In a rare municipal court trial, Carbondale prosecutor Sherry Caloia called Muñoz as her first witness following opening statements by her and defense attorney Richard Dally.Muñoz said he pulled in behind Horn’s truck and “all of a sudden the driver stormed out of the vehicle. He was extremely upset. … I felt very threatened.”Muñoz drew his Taser gun and held it to his side.Tasers are a nonlethal device that delivers an electric shock either through projectiles shot into a suspect or through contacts at the end of the device.In opening statements, Horn’s attorney, Dally, said, “Don’t be surprised if Mr. Horn has a different recollection of these events,” than those laid out by Caloia in her opening argument.He said on Aug. 6 Horn was having trouble shifting the truck and could not stop at the stop sign.Dally said he would argue during the remainder of the trial that Horn acted in self-defense.Muñoz’s testimony continued past deadline Wednesday, and the trial was expected to continue all day today and possibly Friday. Both sides were scheduled to call more than 15 witnesses to the stand.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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