Verdict watch: Jury resumes fourth day of work in Tensing trial

Verdict watch: Jury resumes fourth day of work in Tensing trial
The room at the Hamilton County courthouse where jurors meet. (FOX19 NOW)
The room at the Hamilton County courthouse where jurors meet. (FOX19 NOW)
Samuel DuBose (Provided photo)
Samuel DuBose (Provided photo)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Jurors are deliberating for the fourth day in the trial of former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing.

The 12 men and women returned to the courthouse at 8 a.m. Saturday. They have spent about 23 hours deciding whether Tensing is guilty or innocent of murder or voluntary manslaughter in the death of Samuel DuBose.

Around noon Friday, jurors told Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan they were hung on both counts of murder and voluntary manslaughter, but she sent them back to deliberate.

She returned to the bench around 5 p.m. to answer a jury question. The question had to do with the technical definition of "arrest," but Shanahan refused to respond.

"You have all the instructions you need to reach a verdict in this case. It would be improper for the court to elaborate further," Shanahan told the jurors after reading the question aloud in court. Several minutes later, she announced the jury would return to their hotel and suspend deliberations until Saturday.

The entire jury question read: "Whether Samuel DuBose was actively resisting arrest Samuel DuBose or attempting to evade arrest by flight. What is the definition of arrest? If you can't answer, does the defendant need to say 'you're under arrest,' or 'I'm placing you under arrest,' or some equivalent wording before DuBose could actively resist arrest or attempt to evade arrest by flight."

FOX19 NOW legal analysts Clyde Bennett and Mark Krumbein said they were surprised Shanahan did not elaborate on why she refused to answer the question. An explanation would have taken "the microscope off the conduct of Mr. DuBose and places it back on Mr. Tensing," explained Bennett.

"When you start talking about disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, you are emphasizing the conduct of the defendant. And if I was the state of Ohio, I would not want the jurors to have that on their mind," Bennett said.

A crowd of protesters gathered outside the courthouse all day.

An increased police presence was around the courthouse Thursday night and Friday. Trash bins around the courthouse remain secured by cables to poles to prevent them from being thrown.

Live Blog: Tensing trial

Courthouse workers who were supposed to be off on Saturday were told to report to work unless otherwise notified, deputies were informed over the county's emergency communications system shortly after noon.

Two black women, four white women and six white men make up the jury. Three alternates, all white women, are not permitted into the jury room, but they can replace a juror if needed.

Tensing, 26, shot DuBose in the head during a traffic stop for a missing front license plate in July 2015.

Prosecutors told jurors Tensing "purposely" killed Sam DuBose and is guilty of murder. They said  evidence, including his own body camera video, contradicted his story.

Jurors also have the option of convicting him of voluntary manslaughter, meaning he killed in a fit of rage or sudden passion after being provoked.

Tensing has said he shot DuBose, 43, because he feared for his life while being dragged by DuBose's car as DuBose tried to drive off.

His attorney, Stew Mathews, said Tensing was trying to keep from being run over and was in "sheer terror."

On Thursday, the 12 men and women requested testimony from two police use of force experts , Shanahan said.

Their question read: "We would like a read back of both the prosecution and defense use of deadly force expert witness testimony, including any cross-questioning."

Shanahan also said the jurors asked several other questions, but those were not addressed in open court before the media.

Some Downtown businesses reportedly sent employees home early in anticipation of a verdict Thursday. One school canceled classes and a second dismissed early.

See a complete recap of closing arguments here: Tensing trial jurors weigh two very different versions 

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