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Nero trial to begin Thursday; chooses no jury

Trial for Officer Edward Nero, Involved in Freddie Gray's Arrest, Starts in Baltimore
Posted at 10:29 AM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2018-12-31 16:10:08-05

Officer Edward Nero formally chose to argue his case in front of Judge Barry Williams and not a jury of his peers, a decision that almost assures the first verdict in any of the trials surrounding the death of Freddie Gray.

Williams told both sides Tuesday morning, he is not swayed by emotions and will rule on the law when it comes to the case against Edward Nero.

After much deliberation, Nero's attorney advised his client it was the best route when dealing with a case as legally complicated as he feels Nero's might be.

The risk legal scholars point out is that there will be a decision either way.

"The one thing that we can be assured of when you have a judge trial is that there won't be a mistrial. There will be a verdict in this case. Judges feel they are hardly ever influenced by emotion or feeling, but they will only consider the evidence," University of Maryland Law School Professor Doug Colbert said.

And Judge Williams spent Tuesday morning deciding just what some of that evidence will be.

The judge ruled on 13 pre-trial motions.

RELATED: Edward Nero, one of the arresting officers in Freddie Gray case, to go on trial

While the state will be able to show the now infamous cell phone video of Gray's arrest, the audio will be muted.

Medical testimony will be limited too; while Williams will hear that Freddie Gray died from his injuries, he will not allow a blow by blow account of how he received them.

Nero was one of the bike cops that chased and arrested Gray; his case starts and end there.

To that end, Williams temporarily granted the defense motion to preclude any argument over whether or not the knife found on Gray, the cause for his arrest, was illegal.

"I think the judge reserved on a lot of the motions, particularly with reference to issues underlying the knife. I think the judge is waiting to see what the state's theory of prosecution ultimately is," local attorney Warren Alperstein said.

Attorneys following this case say that could come down to the timeline of when or if Gray was unjustifiably detained, ultimately arrested and therefore assaulted before being recklessly endangered in the back of van without a seat belt.

Judge Williams predicts this case could be wrapped up by next Wednesday, even with a delayed start.

Edward Nero's bench trial will begin at 9:30, Thursday morning.

ABC2 News contributed to this report. 

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