Man charged with killing Massachusetts officer faces trial

Crime

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) — The trial of a man charged with killing a Massachusetts police officer in 2018 started Monday with jury selection.

Thomas Latanowich, of Somerville, faces a murder charge in Barnstable Superior Court in the death of Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon. Gannon, 32, the department’s K-9 officer, was killed in April 2018 while he and other officers were serving an arrest warrant for a possible probation violation at a Barnstable home. Gannon’s dog, Nero, was also shot, but survived.

Latanowich, described by prosecutors as a career criminal with a lengthy record, is also facing other charges, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, firearm possession without a license, and mistreating/interfering with a police dog.

He has pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail since his arrest. Latanowich, handcuffed and wearing a suit, was escorted into court by police. Gannon’s family was also present. The judge said he expected it to take about a week to impanel a jury and the trial was expected to last for the entire month.

Latanowich’s lawyer, Joseph Krowski, asked for a change of venue given that most of the potential jurors appeared to be familiar with the case, but his motion was denied.

Krowski had previously tried to get the trial moved off Cape Cod because extensive local media coverage of the case had created an “overwhelmingly negative community sentiment” toward his client, making it impossible to sit an impartial jury. That motion was denied in January.

The defense lawyer has said that Latanowich acted in self-defense and was afraid for his life because the officers were the aggressors.

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