Opening statements in NJ trooper trial

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. (AP) - May 6, 2009 The judge wants to find one more potential juror to bring the pool to 50 before lawyers start using challenges to thin the group.

The process is expected to take at least most of the morning.

Robert Higbee is charged with death by auto. Prosecutors say, contrary to Trooper Robert Higbee's claim that he stopped and looked both ways at the intersection of Stage Coach Road and Tacaho Road in Upper Township that night in 2006, an event data record in his police cruiser shows he was travelling up to 80 miles per hour, while chasing a speeder just before the crash, and doing between 65 and 75 mph when his car went through a stop sign and collided with a minivan, killing 17-year-old Jaqueline Becker and her 19-year-old sister Christina.

Higbee's lawyer says the 6-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police was following law enforcement guidelines, trying to catch up to the speeder before activating his lights and siren.

If convicted, Higbee could face five to 10 years in prison.


The AP contributed to the article.

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