Trial begins for Kyle Williams, man accused of killing Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin

Crispin killed in 2011

BARTOW, Fla. - Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of Kyle Williams, who is accused of killing Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin in December 2011.

Judge Donald Jacobsen swore in 160 jurors and broke down the facts of the case:

  • The night he was shot, Crispin radioed into police dispatch that he was going to check out a group of young men at Crystal Grove Lake Park.
  • A second officer responded and discover Crispin lying next to playground equipment. He had been shot in the head.
  • Crispin died at the hospital. Williams, 19 years old at the time, was arrested a few days later.
  • Williams reportedly said he was not at the park, but later admitted he was. He has maintained that he did not pull the trigger.

Outside the courtroom, Williams' family reiterated that claim. His mother, Phyllis Mitchell, said, "My son is innocent. I know that he is innocent. I know that he is being falsely accused."

The family of Crispin disagrees.

"It's disturbing to us that somebody can sit and say that they are innocent and say that they have nothing to do with that when everything says you were there," Frankie Crispin said.

Potential jurors were told that the trial is expected to last four weeks and the state is seeking the death penalty.

Three questions were presented to potential jurors:

  • Do they have any knowledge of the case?
  • Do they have any problem with a lengthy trial?
  • Do they have an issue with the death penalty?

The majority of the 160 potential jurors had an issue with at least one.

Jury selection is expected to last several days.

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