PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The man charged with ambushing a Philadelphia police officer who was sitting in his patrol car two years ago is set to begin his trial this week.
Jury selection began Monday in the case of 32-year-old Edward Archer, who is accused of gunning down officer Jesse Hartnett in West Philadelphia in early January, 2016.
Archer allegedly confessed to the shooting, claiming that he did it in the name of Islam. The shooting gained national and international attention.
Now, lawyers for both sides are sorting through a pool of 60 jurors to find a dozen who can be impartial.
“I think it’s very, very difficult when you have President Trump himself bringing up this case during the presidential campaign,” said defense attorney Trevan Borum.
Surveillance video shows a suspect firing 13 times upon the patrol car, striking Hartnett several times. Hartnett fires back, injuring the gunman.
Borum says he doesn’t believe Archer is mentally stable for trial.
“He hasn’t had a mental health evaluation because he’s refused to see a mental health expert,” Borum said.
“He certainly knows what he is doing, and only he knows why,” said prosecutor Allison Borgatti, “but it has nothing to do with whether or not he’s competent.”
Opening arguments are set to begin on Thursday.