Jury selection wraps in trial for teen charged in Lawrence boy’s shooting death

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The trial in the case of a Lawrence teen charged with first-degree murder is set to begin Wednesday after the jury selection process wrapped up Tuesday.

Derrick D. Reed, 18, will be tried in connection with the shooting death of Kamarjay Shaw, 14, nearly one year ago. Douglas County District Judge Sally Pokorny previously ruled Reed, who was 17 years old at the time of the shooting, would be tried as an adult and would not be granted immunity.

According to testimony earlier in the case, Kamarjay and four teen boys on that Saturday were at the apartment of a teen female friend and her sister, just around the corner from Reed’s home. Another teen girl called one of the boys via Snapchat audio and told him to come outside because Reed wanted to fight him, according to testimony. The group went outside, assuming it was going to be a one-on-one fist fight between Reed and Kamarjay or one of the other boys. The boys testified that they were trying to get Reed to come out to the street to fight, but Reed refused, instead trying to get the other boys to come into the house or backyard, which they refused to do. The boys were heading back to their friend’s apartment when they saw Reed come out of the house with a gun, they testified. There were two gunshots, and Kamarjay was hit. (Read more from the hearing in this article.)

The jury selection process began Monday in the historic county courthouse on the corner of 11th and Massachusetts streets, across from the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center where the bulk of the trial will take place. 

Nearly 60 Douglas County residents were summoned on Monday; the process continued Tuesday with the second half of the jury pool, which again included almost 60 Douglas County residents.

One potential juror, who said she’s Black and Hispanic, on Monday had asked why she was the only person of color on the panel. Another potential juror later that day vocalized that she’s also a person of color.

Tuesday’s jury pool did not appear more diverse than Monday’s, but no one drew attention to the issue. 

Reed’s defense attorney, Mark Hartman, had said earlier Monday that the jury selection process’ objective is to find a jury that’s representative of the Douglas County community. In addition, Kamarjay was Black, and race has been an issue in the case, including in regard to messages Reed allegedly sent that used racial slurs.

Maya Hodison/Lawrence Times Defendant Derrick D. Reed, at left, and his attorney Mark Hartman prepare to exit jury selection on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

During questioning Tuesday, 13 potential jurors were excused from serving on the jury either because they have unavoidable responsibilities during the trial or because they said they could not be unbiased and impartial for a personal reason or belief. 

After group questioning concluded around 1:30 p.m., several potential jurors were asked to stay and have one-on-one, private meetings with the attorneys, defendant and judge. Most of those people had indicated they held some sort of bias toward an involved party, or that they already knew some information about the case, whether they had learned through word of mouth or by reading news articles. The case has been highly publicized.

Everyone else was dismissed for the day and told to await a call Tuesday evening letting them know whether they’ve been selected.

The attorneys plan to choose 12 jurors and three alternates. Attorneys will try to refer to juror numbers rather than their names throughout the trial in hopes of protecting individuals’ identities.

Hartman had taken the unusual step to request that the jury be sequestered, but the judge denied that motion.


Opening statements will begin Wednesday morning. The trial is set to last through this week and may continue into Monday and Tuesday next week. Evidence will be presented and witnesses will give testimony as the trial proceeds.

Doors to the Division 2 courtroom at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St., will open at 8 a.m. each day. Seating inside is first-come, first-served, and proceedings will begin at 9 a.m.

Pokorny asks for total silence in the courtroom. Phones are not allowed inside. Wearing attire that shows support for either Kamarjay or Reed is not permitted, and people may be asked to turn shirts inside out or to leave to change. Spectators who leave the courtroom during proceedings will not be allowed back in until the next break or recess.

Three rule violations from anyone will result in a courtroom closed to the public for the remainder of the trial.

The proceedings will not be livestreamed.

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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