For a second time, a jury has been unable to agree on whether Ray Tensing was justified when he fatally shot Sam DuBose during a traffic stop.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz on Friday shortly after 2 p.m. declared a mistrial, after the jury of nine women and three men said they could not agree on verdicts for either murder or voluntary manslaughter.
"We are almost evenly split regarding our votes," the jurors wrote to Ghiz.
Tensing’s first trial last year also ended with the jury deadlocked. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters must now decide whether to seek a third trial.
Jurors deliberated more than 30 hours over five days. They asked three questions during that time, court officials said.
The last question came Friday morning, when the jury told Ghiz they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on either count. “How should we proceed?” they asked.
Ghiz called them into the courtroom and ordered them to continue deliberating, saying, “Hopefully you’re able to resolve your deadlock.”
Jurors couldn’t resolve that deadlock in a case involving the 2015 fatal shooting of DuBose, an unarmed African-American man who tried to drive away from a traffic stop. Tensing, then a 25-year-old University of Cincinnati police officer, said he feared for his life after his arm became trapped inside DuBose’s car.
Opening statements in the retrial were June 8. The seven days of testimony featured video and use-of-force experts for both sides who gave competing views of the incident, much of which was captured on Tensing’s body camera.
There was no agreement among the experts, for example, about whether DuBose pinned Tensing’s arm against the steering wheel. Tensing told investigators two days afterward that his arm was “caught” or “tangled” in the steering wheel. On the stand last week, he said he “misperceived” that his arm was caught.
Also, in an extremely unusual moment, a lead investigator who testified for the prosecution offered an opinion that Tensing may have been justified.
Mid-trial, prosecutors signaled they were not confident about a murder or manslaughter conviction. Assistant Prosecutor Seth Tieger asked that the jury be instructed consider the lesser charge of reckless homicide, a request Ghiz denied.