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Jury selection begins for Meriden man facing murder charge

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NEW BRITAIN — A Meriden man on trial for the shooting death of a New Britain teenager had his bond changed in court Tuesday to make it easier for him to be transported to the courthouse during the trial.

Jonathan Gibbs, 26, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in Superior Court on Tuesday before the jury selection process began.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin on Monday, but was delayed because of a problem in transporting Gibbs from Northern Correctional Facility in Somers, where he has been held since his arrest in June.

Judge Frank D’Addabbo addressed a proposal from the attorneys to move Gibbs to another correctional facility so it will be easier to get him to court each day.

Gibbs has been held on $3 million bond. D’Addabbo changed that to a $99,000 cash only bond, saying it is only allowed to be posted at court and with 24 hours notice.

Lowering the bond will allow Gibbs to be held at Hartford Correctional Center, which is closer to New Britain. If there is any indication Gibbs is going to post bond, State’s Attorney Brian Preleski can file a motion to change the bond back to $3 million, D’Addabbo said.

Attorney Norm Pattis, representing Gibbs, said the trial is scheduled to begin July 21 and last about 10 days.

D’Addabbo allowed leg shackles to be removed from Gibbs during jury selection after judicial marshals confirmed Gibbs has not had any behavior issues.

After the jury pool was brought into the courtroom, D’Addabbo described the type of case, including the charge. Pattis and Preleski read off the names of all potential witnesses and anyone involved in the case.

D’Addabbo then asked if any of the potential jurors had a conflict, and about half of people raised their hands.

Jury selection is expected to take between six and 10 days, Pattis said.

Gibbs was arrested following an incident on June 16, 2013. Police responded to the area of Kelsey Avenue in New Britain after midnight and found 18-year-old Issaac Smith with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Smith was taken to a local hospital and declared dead. Gibbs was arrested at his Meriden home the next morning.

Gibbs told police he was selling a pair of $400 sneakers on Facebook and had arranged to meet Smith to sell the shoes. Smith approached Gibbs, grabbed the shoes, implied he had a gun and ran away.

Gibbs grabbed a handgun from his truck and fired a shot “in the direction of Smith,” police said.



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