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.