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Trial begins for former Hunt County police officer accused of murder

Both sides made opening statements in the trial of a former Wolfe City police officer charged with murder. Shaun Lucas was arrested and charged in October of 2020.

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 held in the 354th Judicial District Court presided by Honorable Judge Keli Aiken of Hunt County. The court spent Monday and the early part of Tuesday selecting a jury.

Families for both were in court Tuesday as opening arguments were made. Lucas was dressed in a suit and tie. WFAA counted twelve 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 Dallas 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."

Sources told WFAA that more than two dozen witnesses are set to be called over the next several days. The jury will also see the body-worn camera belonging to Lucas.

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