Was Ray Tensing offered plea deal? Depends who you ask

Was Ray Tensing offered plea deal? Depends who you ask
Ray Tensing with his attorney, Stew Mathews. (Cincinnati Enquirer/file)
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (FOX19 NOW/file)
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Was Ray Tensing offered a plea deal in the 2015 fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose?

Depends who you ask.

Tensing's attorney says the former University of Cincinnati police officer was offered a deal if he pleaded guilty to reckless homicide before the second trial.

Tensing did not take the deal, Mathews said Tuesday, because "he isn't guilty of anything."

But a spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday it was an informal discussion and there was never any formal offer.

"Mr. Deters told me that he ran into Mr. Matthews sometime before the second trial (not sure of exact date since it was not a scheduled meeting) and they had a conversation about a possible plea," wrote Julie Wilson, in a statement to FOX19 NOW.

"Mr. Deters said that he told Mr. Matthews that, 'if defendant came to us with a possible plea - -something like a reckless homicide--  that we would consider it and discuss it with the family.'

"Mr. Deters also said that Mr. Matthews said that they would not consider a plea to a felony.  Obviously no plea materialized since we had a second trial."

Tensing, 27, was indicted on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter 10 days after killing DuBose at a traffic stop off campus.

Murder carries the possibility of 15 years to life in prison. The voluntary manslaughter charge could put Tensing in prison for 3 to 11 years.

The charge of reckless homicide carries a sentence of 9 to 36 months behind bars, according to FOX19 NOW Senior Legal Analyst Mike Allen.

Assistant County Prosecutor Seth Tieger unsuccessfully asked the judge overseeing Tensing's second trial to reckless homicide for jurors to consider during deliberations.

Both of Tensing's trials ended in hung juries.

It remains unclear if he will face a third trial - and, if so, what charges he would face.

The jury in the second trial voted 8 to 4 not guilty on the murder charge and 7 to 5 not guilty of manslaughter.

Deters hasn't commented yet on the second mistrial. He is expected to sometime next week.

The case can seem somewhat convoluted to the average person, Allen said.

"Again, it all stems from the prosecutor over-indicting the case from the beginning. All the things that have happened in this case negatively, have kind of flowed from that and that's why he's in the pickle he's in today," Allen said of Deters.

It may be too late at this point to re-indict Tensing on lesser charges, Allen suggested in an appearance Wednesday on FOX19 NOW Morning News.

"I think it's time now to start thinking about the rights of Ray Tensing," Allen said.

"He's been through two trials already, probably decimated financially and I don't think there should be (a third trial). Now, whether there will be one or not, we'll find out next week.

"But," Allen continued, "there are some that think the prosecutor is now out of time to prosecute on reckless homicide or negligent homicide. If that, in fact, is the case then he's stuck with the original two (charges) the two juries already have not been able to come to a decision on."

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