Attorneys Pick Two Jurors on First Day of Michael Koistinen Trial

The selection of jurors began Monday in the case of former Windsor Locks police officer Michael Koistinen, who is charged with fatally striking a teenager on a bike with his car while off duty.

As predicted by Judge Julia Dewey, the first day of jury selection in the trial of Michael Koistinen resulted in a lot of candidates being excused Monday in Hartford Superior Court.

The prosecution and defense did however choose two jurors of the six needed. One works as an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts and the other is a college student seeking a degree in education.

Koistinen, 26, a probationary officer with the police department, is accused of striking 15-year-old Henry Dang with his car as the teen rode his bicycle at the intersection of Spring and West streets at midnight on Oct. 30, 2010.

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Koistinen is charged in the with first-degree manslaughter, misconduct with a motor vehicle and tampering with physical evidence.

Dewey said the evidence portion of the trial will begin on June 19 and will last until about June 29. The selection will resume at 10 a.m. Tuesday. There will be no jury selection on Friday because of the holiday weekend.

The case is being prosecuted by State’s Attorney Gail Hardy and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney John Fahey. Koistinen is being represented by Simsbury Attorney Raymond Hassett.

From a pool of 50 potential jurors, about 30 people were excused because of scheduling conflicts or knowing a possible witness, or, after undergoing voir dire or questioning by attorneys

The attorneys listed several people as possible witnesses in the case, including former Windsor Locks police chief  John Suchocki, police commission member Neal Cunningham, Officer Paul Sherokow, members of the regional accident reconstruction team, members of the Suffield Ambulance and East Windsor Ambulance, as well as Robert Koistinen, Michael’s father.

A Suffield resident, Koistinen was off-duty and had allegedly been drinking heavily at the Suffield Inn shortly before the midnight accident. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Nov. 23, 2010. He rejected a plea offer in November 2011.

His father, longtime Sgt. Robert Koistinen, is accused of interfering with the investigation, after allegedly twice leaving the scene of the accident with his son to return to the police station. He pleaded not guilty in January 2011 and also rejected a plea offer in November 2011.

Robert Koistinen was fired from his job by the Windsor Locks Police Department in January. He is seeking his job back, officials said.

Valencia Giovanni May 22, 2012 at 11:31 AM
May justice prevail and a 15 year old child not be slandered or forgotten in this case. R.I.P. Henry! Windsor locks will never forget you
Jennifer May 22, 2012 at 02:46 PM
This is a disgrace to the police department and I hope Henry & his family finally receive justice. I can not elieve this police officer is seeking his job back.....mayb he should have thought o that before he broke the law!
Spiff May 25, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Unfortunately, police officers are simply a reflection of the population at large where there are good people and bad people. As such, there are good police officers and there are bad police officers. Police Officers, however, should be held to a higher standard, because they're Police Officers. They are the ones that are supposed to be trying to keep crimes from being committed, they are the ones that are supposed to be trying to keep citizens safe. It absolutely sickens me when I read articles like this, and unfortunately, I’ve read too many of them in recent years! Doesn't Officer Koistinen know that it is illegal to "drink heavily" and then drive home? Of course he does. I have to imagine that Officer Koistinen is not the only Officer who does stuff like this. He just got caught, because he killed a 15 year old kid. Those responsible for selecting, training and providing on-going evaluations of these public servants need to do a better job.
Marty Salvatore May 25, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Holy Moses! I agree with this post 100%.
Spiff May 25, 2012 at 07:54 PM
(Laughing loudly) Marty, man, you crack me up, following me around on this website. Well, I'm glad you and I can agree on something. I still think you're a closet Democrat, however! ;)
TechSpec May 30, 2012 at 12:51 AM
What Michael did was obviously a horrible thing during a drunken episode, justice will prevail in this case. As far as Robert's poor decisions are concerned, a father will do almost anything to protect his child's integrity and future, I can't say I blame him. Although what he did is more than obviously the wrong thing to do as a Police Sergeant hired to protect the citizens. By him seeking to get his job back is simply a tactic to help the defense in proving his innocence or to minimize any prosecution. To put it into perspective, if you were caught speeding at 100mph in a 50mph zone and the officer gave you the choice of paying a $300 fine and the oportunity to defend your actions OR spending the night in jail, you will opt for the fine. The same goes for Sgt Koistinen, he knows he's done wrong, but he doesn't want to OVER-pay for his actions. After all, he wasn't the one drunk driving and hitting bikers. I'm confident he won't get his Job back, he may however keep his pension. Just another way to look at things.


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