only attorney on the panel, several jurors
had served on multiple juries in the past
and were much more knowledgeable than
I about how juries and trials worked.
For five weeks of sometimes grueling trial days of boredom, excitement,
tension, and stress, we had each been
alone with our thoughts. On the day
that we received the case for deliberation we could finally start talking with
each other about it. I was elected as the
presiding juror. I told the other jurors
that I would not be rendering any legal
advice and got their agreement that
when we went around the table to give
our opinions I would always go last. I
didn’t want my opinion about anything
to carry any special weight.
We began a process of reviewing
the entire trial from start to finish. We
compared our handwritten notes on
every witness. We re-watched every
second of every video including the
squad car videos. We re-read, out loud,
all the text messages, appointing a male
juror to read the defendant’s messages
and a female juror to read the victim’s
messages. We also examined the weapon
in detail. It became clear to me that an
accidental firing was possible.
When we went around the table to
take our first vote, most of the other
jurors had a similar opinion. There were
many bad facts for the defendant, and
he had done himself no favors in his
police interview or in his testimony, but
there was not enough evidence from the
days, months, and even hours leading
up to that horrible moment to convince
a majority of the jurors that the defendant pulled the trigger for the purpose
of killing his wife.
There was plenty of evidence to
conclude that the defendant was
negligent and reckless but not nearly
enough, it seemed, to meet the standard
of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for
the murder charges. Nevertheless, in the
end, we deadlocked on murder in the
first degree. One juror strongly believed
that the defendant was guilty of premeditated murder. At this point we had spent
seven days in the jury room. This one
We raise the bar.
Seattle & Everett
Se Habla Español
We know Workers’ Comp.
Over 80 years strong.
After seven days, we
deadlocked on murder
in the first degree.