Kot Murder Trial Starts


Jury selection is finished for a murder trial two years in the making.

Arkanjelo Kot is charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of a Grand Island teen in 2010. After 30 months, he now has just hours before opening statements are made on Tuesday.

In 2009 Arkanjelo was a victim in a separate shooting that claimed the life of Nyuol Mathok. Kot was also shot and testified in the case. Nearly one year later, Kot was charged in a separate but allegedly connected shooting that claimed the life of Omar Aden a 17–year–old Somali teen.

At Kot's arraignment, prosecutors contended the shooting of Aden was retaliation for not testifying in the prior murder trial. Monday as the prosecution and defense questioned potential jurors, feelings towards ethnicity and gun rights were key.

Police witnesses waited outside all day waiting for the trial to begin, which was a possibility heading into the day.

14 jurors were selected, 11 women and three men. But soon after dismissal, that number whittled away to 12. Two men, both of Hispanic descent and the only members not white, were thrown out for prior convictions. One had an assault charge and the other several driving under suspension and DUI's that were prosecuted in the county.

Now, Kot's jury of his peers consists of 11 women and one man – all white. It's not necessarily a representation of Grand Island. The 2010 census shows 26 percent of the city is of Hispanic decent and 2 percent are black.

But, despite that being addressed by defense, the judge cleared the jury for Tuesday.