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Jury selected in Hudson murder trial

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Mohammed Morshed, 28, of Hudson, is on trial this week, accused in the shooting death of Inderly Instinfil, 19, of Philmont, in 2018.
June 12, 2019 08:16 am

HUDSON — A jury was selected Tuesday in the murder trial of Mohammed Morshed.

Morshed, 28, of Hudson is charged with second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony. He is accused of shooting Inderly InStinfil, 19, of Philmont, at his home on 20 Fairview Ave. at around 8:20 p.m. June 17, 2018, near the Stewart’s Shop at the intersection of Green Street.

After InStinfil was shot, he left the house, got into a taxi at the Stewart’s Shop, across the street from 20 Fairview Ave. and was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he died from a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Seven men and five women, with three additional men and one woman serving as alternates, will hear evidence throughout the two-week trial before giving their verdict.

The trial will resume Wednesday with jury instruction followed by opening statements by the attorneys for the prosecution and defense.

The jurors were selected from three groups of 21 after each group was questioned by the attorneys. The names of the jurors are not spoken aloud in court to protect their identities.

Few details are known of why Morshed allegedly shot InStinfil. Police have declined to give a motive in the case. Questions posed by the attorneys gave hints as to what evidence and testimony might be introduced at the trial. Attorney Justin DeArmas, who represents Morshed, asked questions related to the use of guns in self-defense. Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty asked jurors how much weight they would give the testimony of police officers.

Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek told prospective jurors a new witness, Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas “T.J.” Merante, was added to the list since it had been submitted to the court Monday. Merante and state trooper Troy Antal were on patrol and spotted Morshed leaving the area the night of the alleged murder, police said.

Merante was patroling south on Fairview Avenue when he saw Morshed getting into his BMW, and Antal saw the suspect turning toward him in the vehicle, police said in June 2018.

Morshed told reporters as he was being led to jail after his arraignment in June 2018 that he was not in the area at the time of the alleged killing.

“You are the judges of fact in the case and you are also the judges of credibility,” Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty said in his introduction to the third prospective jury panel.

Both attorneys asked whether the prospective jurors had read any news accounts of the case. Four members of the last prospective jury panel said they had read about the case in the newspaper. When asked if they could be impartial after reading those stories, one said she could not, based on what she read. She was not selected.

Another potential juror said he could be fair and impartial, though he had read news accounts. He was selected.

A woman who said she knew the defendant’s brother was not selected. Of the four people who said they knew police officers, three were selected, including one woman who is the daughter of two police officers.

DeArmas said his client is presumed innocent and asked how jurors feel about using guns to defend themselves from physical harm.

“His (Morshed’s) life might be on the line and I’d like for him to have a fair shake,” DeArmas told prospective jurors.

DeArmas asked potential jurors whether they would support using a gun in self-defense if someone entered their home and attacked them.

Two potential jurors said they do not support people having handguns outside the home, but support police officers carrying guns. Those jurors were excused.

No one on the last panel raised their hands when asked if they would not defend themselves with a gun, if necessary.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.