AUSTIN, Texas — It's been four days, and a jury still hasn't been selected in the trial of an Austin police officer charged with murder.
Officer Christopher Taylor shot Michael Ramos after responding to a call in southeast Austin in 2020.
Multiple Austin police officers responded to the report about a possible drug deal in the parking lot of a southeast Austin apartment complex. The 911 caller claimed the man had a gun, but police later confirmed they didn't find a weapon.
When officers arrived at the complex, video shows Ramos getting out of his car with his hands up. Police said Ramos didn't obey further commands. The situation escalated, and an officer fired a beanbag shotgun round at him. Ramos then got back into his car and tried to drive away. That's when Taylor opened fire.
Now Taylor is on trial for murder, but a jury has yet to be selected to hear the case.
What's the hold-up?
Jury selection started Monday, but the judge dismissed the entire jury panel when it was discovered the courtroom door had been locked, even though it was supposed to be open to the public.
Jury selection resumed Tuesday, but the lead prosecutor said potential jurors had scheduling issues related to travel that could interfere with them serving.
Then on Wednesday, there was a situation where two potential jurors found "mysterious envelopes" on their cars, leading to questioning to see if other potential jurors had received anything similar. Questioning took at least three hours, with potential jurors acknowledging they had felt threatened and intimidated by the discovery of the envelopes.
The content of the envelopes was not discussed in open court.
On Thursday, jury selection continued. But given the high-profile nature of the case, concerns were raised that serving on the jury would impact the potential jurors' personal safety, relationships and mental health, as well as their ability to be impartial.
So far, seven jurors have been selected. Judge Dayna Blazey pulled in 16 more people who were still qualified to serve and will be brought back in with others on Tuesday, May 30, to determine the remainder of the jury.
The judge wants jury selection finished by Tuesday afternoon. Opening statements could start by then.
Taylor faces up to life in prison in connection with Ramos' death.
Earlier this week, KVUE spoke with the son of the former owner of La Mexicana Bakery, which is now closed but bears murals honoring Ramos. Jesús Becerra said he remembers seeing Ramos walk into the store every day.
"Every year, we do Mother's Day. We give out free cakes. Mike Ramos would come by, he'll be one of the first customers to receive the free cake, so he'd give it to his mom," Becerra said. "He's very funny, I'll tell you that. He liked to joke around. Besides joking around, you know, he's very humble. He looks like he's a very helpful person as well."
As Austin waits for the trial to unfold, Becerra is reflecting on Ramos' life and the artwork that remains outside the bakery. It was Ramos' mother who requested it be placed there.
"Everyone knows Mike Ramos here," Becerra said.