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Jury selection today in trial of man charged in Manchester officer shooting

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 02. 2012 9:16PM
Manchester police Officer Daniel Doherty, left, and Miles Webster, right. 

MANCHESTER - Jury selection began Monday morning in Hillsborough County Superior Court North in the attempted murder trial of Myles Webster.

Webster, 23, is accused of firing 15 shots at Manchester Police Officer Daniel Doherty, five of those bullets striking Doherty in the legs and lower body March 21 at Rimmon and Wayne streets.

Webster is also being tried on charges of reckless conduct and robbery in connection with the incident that began with an undercover officer's call for assistance.

Doherty, 27, will be among the prosecution witnesses. At a motions hearing last month, Doherty said he was "100 percent sure" that Webster is the person who shot him.

Jury selection is expected to be completed Monday, and a view of sites relevant to the case will then be conducted.

After challenges today, the 16 jurors and alternates seated include nine women and seven men.

Earlier story follows:

MANCHESTER - Jury selection will begin this morning in Hillsborough County Superior Court North in the trial of Myles Webster, accused of shooting Manchester Police Officer Daniel Doherty.

Webster, 23, is accused of attempted capital murder in the March 21 shooting that left Doherty hospitalized for more than three weeks at Catholic Medical Center with leg and lower torso wounds.

Police said Doherty was pursuing Webster on foot when Webster turned and emptied a .357-caliber Magnum handgun at the four-year officer. Five bullets hit Doherty, who pulled his own weapon as he fell and returned fire. None of Doherty's bullets struck his shooter.

Nine months later, Doherty is still undergoing intensive physical therapy. Webster, who was arrested the same day, has been in custody since the shooting.

Webster is also being tried on two felonies - reckless conduct for allegedly firing a handgun out a car window near the Granite Street Bridge before the foot chase, and for allegedly firing shots into an occupied building at 345 Rimmon St.

A robbery charge alleges he held a gun on a woman and demanded her car keys, saying, "I need to get out of here."

Police swarmed the area after the shooting at Rimmon and Wayne streets, searching for the man who fired at Doherty from a distance of three to five feet.

Doherty said Friday that he will be in the courtroom from the beginning of the trial. Witnesses are sequestered until they testify, but because Doherty is a victim as well as a witness, he has the right to be in the courtroom throughout the trial.

Although he has regained weight and appears healthy, Doherty is not yet fully recovered.

"It's reality," he said.

He still has leg and stomach problems, but said he has been assured by his doctors that he will be 100 percent eventually.

For now, he said, "Whenever I walk, I'm in pain." That doesn't matter, he said. "I show myself that I can do it."

He looks forward to being physically fit again.

"I'm a hockey player," said Doherty, who was scheduled to play in the Battle of the Badges - firefighters vs. police - ice hockey game last March to benefit the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. He was still hospitalized when the game was played, but Doherty said: "They say I will be back on the ice."

Doherty, 25, admits to being a little impatient about his recovery.

He said his primary physical therapist is demanding, and he knows it will take hard work to get back to normal.

"I've kind of made up my own scale," he said.

Although it will be some time before he can return to full duty as a police officer, he said: "I enjoy life in general."

He appreciates all the support he has received from the community.

"So many new friends," he said.

At pretrial motion hearings, Webster's attorneys have questioned Doherty's identification of Webster as the shooter, as well as other witness identifications, claiming they were contaminated by photos of Webster that appeared in the news media before witnesses could provide descriptions to police and view multiple photo arrays.

Like the attorneys for convicted cop-killer Michael Addison, the defense attorneys sought a change of venue, seeking to have the trial held anywhere but Manchester. The defense also argued there is a special relationship between the community and the police, whose headquarters are diagonally across the street from the courthouse.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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