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Jury selected for trial of Milwaukee Police officer's accused murderer

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 19:36:47-04

A jury was selected in the case against a man accused of killing a Milwaukee Police Officer earlier this year.

Officer Matthew Rittner was killed on Feb. 6 while serving a drug warrant near 12th & Dakota. Jordan Fricke is accused of pulling the trigger.

The first day of the trial for Fricke was extremely long. By nearly 5:30 p.m., 15 jurors, nine women and six men, had been selected. Three jurors will serve as alternates.

It was a day filled with questions to try and find the best jury for a fair trial.

"Raise your hand if you have common sense," Grant Huebner, the Assistant District Attorney said.

The day started with 60 jurors and after a private questionnaire, 38 entered the courtroom for more direct questioning to try and define biases.

"Does anyone have an 'I back the badge' lawn sign?" Huebner asked. "Can you put law enforcement support aside in this case?"

As hands shot up for other various questions on gun owners, concealed carry members and more, all 38 potential jurors remained seated. Fricke, solemn in his blue button-up shirt, stared blankly ahead as the questioning wore on.

"The 'whodunnit' is pretty obvious in this case," Fricke's attorney Michael Chernin said. "It's the 'why?' we're interested in."

The death of Officer Rittner was the unfortunate extension of a year of pain for the Milwaukee Police Department. He was the third officer killed in the line of duty in less than a year. The story garnered plenty of news coverage and Judge Jeffrey Wagner wanted to ensure the potential jurors could put their perceived idea of what happened behind them and only pass judgment on what is said in the courtroom over the next few days.

"The fact you've heard something is ok," Judge Wagner said. "The question is, whether you've formed an opinion based on what you heard, stated in another way, can you be objective?"

Testimony will begin Tuesday morning in the Fricke case. In the afternoon, the jury is expected to travel to the scene of the shooting near 12th & Dakota.

Fricke faces four charges including first degree intentional homicide.