A November 7 exhibit from the prosecution shows the position of police and Michael Ramos’ car (Photo by Jana Birchum)
The Chronicle will be in the courtroom and provide ongoing coverage of the Christopher Taylor trial. Catch up on the case and the ramifications of the verdict in this story.
After two days of deliberation and a long weekend, the jury seated to decide guilt or innocence in Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor’s murder trial for his fatal shooting of Michael Ramos in 2020 appears to be deadlocked.
Halfway through the third day of deliberations, District Judge Dayna Blazey, who has presided over the trial, summoned the jury into the courtroom to issue what is known as an “Allen charge” – basically a plea for the jury to continue discussing the evidence so that they can reach a unanimous verdict.
If the jury is unable to reach a unanimous decision – what is commonly referred to as a “hung jury” – Blazey would have to declare a mistrial. From there, prosecutors would have to decide if they want to retry the case or dismiss it (Taylor is also under indictment with another APD officer for their 2019 on-duty killing of Mauris DeSilva).
“All of you are equally honest and conscientious jurors who have heard the same evidence,” Blazey said, reading from the charge in open court. “Any future jury will probably hear the same evidence which has been presented to you. The questions to be determined by that jury may be the same questions confronting you, and they may not find these questions any easier to decide than you have found them.”
Jury deliberations began Nov. 8, one day after attorneys with the prosecution and defense offered closing statements. After confusion over how prosecutors labeled some evidence presented at trial, jurors asked to review witness testimony provided by officers who responded to the scene alongside Taylor as well as video footage from the body-worn cameras of responding officers.
Earlier, as the second day of deliberation began on Thursday, Nov. 9, Blazey announced that one of the four alternate jurors impaneled for the trial had been excused due to falling ill the night before. Later that day, Blazey brought the full jury in to remind them that they must reach a unanimous verdict in either direction or a new trial would be required in the case. “I’m going to instruct you to continue with your deliberations for as long as possible today.” Blazey said, adding that after having Friday, Nov. 10 off in observance of Veterans Day, they would be required to report back to the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center, where the trial is being held, Monday.
Another alternate juror was dismissed from service less than two hours after jurors began deliberating for a third day for violating jury instructions by conducting “legal research” related to the trial.
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