HUNT COUNTY, Texas — It is one of the most high-profile court cases in recent memory for Hunt County. Opening statements started in the trial of a former Wolfe City police officer charged with murder.
Shaun Lucas was arrested and charged in October 2020 after he shot and killed Jonathan Price.
The trial is being held in the 354th Judicial District Court presided by Honorable Judge Keli Aiken of Hunt County.
On Monday, the defense showed parts of surveillance video from Oct 3, 2020. It shows a man leaving the Kwick Chek convenience store, bearhugging Price and then fighting with him. Several people call 911, and when Lucas showed up, the defense says, a man with a hat started arguing with Price.
Prosecutors say Lucas used his taser gun on Price and then moments later, shot and killed him.
RELATED: Who is Jonathan Price?
Wolfe City Police Sgt. Jarred Hayes, who was on scene, testified Monday.
In court he told prosecutors, “Price smelled like alcohol, but was not aggressive to anyone.”
The defense asked Hayes, "Did you have a problem when Lucas shot Price?"
Hayes replies, "I had a problem that he shot Jonathan Price."
The defense then asked, "Why didn’t you tell the Texas Rangers during your interview?"
WFAA also heard from Chase Reed, who was at the store buying ice and saw Lucas after he used his taser.
Reed told jurors, “Jonathan was not full speed. There are a lot more things the cop could’ve done than shoot him.”
Price’s childhood friend, Nicholas Crockett also told jurors what he saw during his trip to the store.
“I saw Lucas say to Jonathan, 'I said come here.' He used a taser to hit him in the backside. Stumbled down the stair. Lost his balance. Reached out to catch himself, and he was shot. Price lays out, and Officer Lucas handcuffs him,” said Crockett.
WFAA counted 12 jurors and what appears to be two or three alternates, the majority of which are women.
The state argued that on Oct. 3, 2020 Price was drunk but not aggressive when he met Lucas, who was called to respond to the scene of a fight. Through the course of the trial, both sides are set to argue whether Price did reach for the officer's taser.
"This shooting was not necessary. And if it was not necessary, it was murder," said Steve Lilley, assistant district attorney for Hunt County.
The defense is led by Toby Shook and Robert Rogers, the same attorneys for former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger.
"Shaun Lucas gave 20 loud commands over 60 seconds. Jonathan Price followed zero of them," said Rogers during opening statements.
The defense said Price was the aggressor and that Lucas had taken reasonable action for deadly force.
On that Oct. 3 night, Lucas responded to an argument that broke out between a couple inside a convenience store. Witnesses said Price tried to break up the disagreement inside the store, but it spilled outside. Friends and family said the argument was settled before officers even arrived.
At the time, attorneys for Lucas said Price approached the officer and later refused repeated instructions. Price had physically resisted, forcing the officer to deploy his taser, according to attorneys.
The attorney also said Price "attempted to take [the taser] away from Officer Lucas."
"Officer Lucas only discharged his weapon in accordance with Texas law when he was confronted with an aggressive assailant who was attempting to take his Taser,” read a statement from attorney Robert L. Rogers back in 2020.
The Texas Rangers charged Lucas with murder and released a statement calling Lucas' actions "not objectionably reasonable."
The Wolfe City Police Department said Lucas "was terminated for his egregious violation of the City's and police department's policies."