Feds preparing for trials in Breonna Taylor police killing

Posted at 2:40 PM, February 15, 2023 and last updated 11:07 AM, May 4, 2023

By DYLAN LOVAN Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Lawyers are set to discuss the federal case against a former Kentucky police officer who fired blindly into Breonna Taylor’s apartment on the night of the deadly raid that left her dead.

FILE – Former Louisville Police officer Brett Hankison talks about seeing a subject in a firing stance in the apartment as he is cross-examined in Louisville, Ky. on March 2, 2022. Breonna Taylor’s neighbors Chelsey Napper and Cody Etherton are asking a judge to move their lawsuit out of Louisville because “fatigue” over the Taylor case could sway a jury in favor of the police. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, Pool, File)

It will be the second attempt by prosecutors to convict Brett Hankison for his actions on the night Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot to death by police. Attorneys will meet to discuss the case at a status conference in a Louisville federal courtroom Wednesday.

Hankison was indicted by the U.S. Justice Department last year along with three other officers, one of whom has pleaded guilty to helping falsify the warrant used to enter Taylor’s apartment on March 13, 2020. Taylor was killed in her hallway after officers broke down the door and Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that struck a police sergeant.

Taylor’s killing along with George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minnesota police in 2020 ignited protests that summer around the country over racial injustice. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the federal indictments in the Taylor case in August, remarking that Taylor “should be alive today.”

FILE – This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. Questioning of potential jurors begins Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, for the trial of a former Kentucky police officer involved in a botched raid that killed Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician. Brett Hankison is standing trial on three counts of wanton endangerment for allegedly firing wildly into Taylor’s neighbors’ apartments in March 2020. No drugs were found during the raid, and the warrant was later found to be flawed. (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

Hankison is the only officer who fired shots during the raid who has been charged in any court. Prosecutors determined that two other officers who fired and struck Taylor were justified in shooting back after Taylor’s boyfriend fired at them.

Hankison, 46, was acquitted in March of charges brought by state prosecutors for endangering Taylor’s next-door neighbors with shots he fired into Taylor’s apartment that went through her walls. Hankison retreated from the open doorway and fired 10 bullets into a sliding door and window on the side of Taylor’s apartment. The more recent federal charges accuse him of endangering neighbors along with Taylor and her boyfriend.

Hankison’s trial is set for Aug. 21 in Louisville before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Jennings Grady. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Another former officer, Kelly Goodlett, has already pleaded guilty to a federal charge, and is expected to testify in the cases against two more officers who were involved in crafting the Taylor warrant. Former detective Joshua Jaynes and former Sgt. Kyle Meany are charged with conspiring to deprive Taylor of her civil rights. Jaynes and Meany are set to be tried together on Oct. 25.

Goodlett’s guilty plea was moved from last year to Dec. 13, presumably after Jaynes and Meany’s cases are finished.