Jury selection begins in killing of Cosby’s son

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — As jury selection began Monday, the judge in the case against a Ukranian immigrant charged with killing Bill Cosby’s only son rejected a defense request to seal jury questionnaires.
Superior Court Judge David Perez said lawyers for Mikail Markhasev had failed to show a compelling reason for keeping the 20-page questionnaires secret from the media and public.
The defense said it made the request to keep the trial from becoming an O.J. Simpson-like spectacle.
Ennis Cosby, 27, was shot Jan. 16, 1997, while changing a flat tire on a dark road. Markhasev, 19, who has a history of gang affiliations and a previous brush with the law, was arrested nearly two months later.
Dozens of jurors were excused Monday because they would be unable to finish the trial, expected to last a month. The reasons ranged from prepaid vacation plans to employers who would not pay their salaries during the trial.
Those that remained filled out the questionnaire and were told to return June 16 to be questioned in person. Their questionnaires were not immediately made public.
Altogether, 450 potential jurors were to be called.
Markhasev’s lawyers must overcome Cosby’s celebrity, incriminating evidence and the defendant’s supposed confession to a friend. The judge will let the confession be admitted at trial if the friend is called as a witness.
Bill Cosby has said he will not attend the trial, and that he’s confident police have arrested the right man.