Jurors hear opening statements in Marquise Jones case

Jones shot, killed by off-duty SAPD officer in 2014

SAN ANTONIO – A jury was selected Monday afternoon in a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed by family members of a man who was fatally wounded by an off-duty San Antonio police officer in a restaurant parking lot in February 2014.

Marquise Jones, 23, was gunned down by Officer Robert Encina outside Chacho's and Chalucci's restaurant on Perrin Beitel Road.

Jones' family contends that the victim's civil rights were violated in the shooting and sued Encina and the city of San Antonio. Encina was cleared of any crime in the case in 2015.

Related: SAPD chief speaks publicly for first time about Marquise Jones case

The amount of monetary damages sought in the wrongful death case is unspecified, but Encina's attorney said the plaintiff has the burden of proof for every single dollar.

In addition to those who filed the civil suit, other members of Jones' family were in Judge Royce Lamberth's federal courtroom as the trial began.

The jury consists of four men and four women who were chosen from a pool of more than 60 people. Potential jurors were asked a variety of questions, on such topics as their familiarity with the case and with the restaurant and whether they know people who work for law enforcement agencies.

Related: Officer who fatally shot man outside Chacho's will not be charged

During opening statements, the respondent argued evidence in the trial will show Jones was shot eight times, including a fatal bullet to his back. The shooting happened after a fender bender in the restaurant's drive-thru.

Encina said he believed Jones had a weapon and feared for his life. But the plaintiffs said Jones was unarmed and was running away from Encina prior to being shot.

The respondents attorneys told jurors that Jones was warned by his sister not to flee from the car before he was killed.

The trial is expected to resume Tuesday morning.


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