AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor will have to wait at least three more days to find out if a jury finds him guilty or not guilty of murder.
This comes after a jury has already spent around 16 hours deliberating. Because of the holiday weekend, the jury will reconvene on Monday, Nov. 13 to continue their deliberations.
Christopher Taylor had been an officer with the Austin Police Department for five years at the time he and several other officers responded to a call in southeast Austin in 2020. The encounter was caught on police cameras and ended with Taylor shooting Michael Ramos three times.
Officer Taylor was charged with murdering Ramos which sparked a nearly two-week trial three years later with witnesses and evidence led by the state to show a jury his actions were not justified.
"A man like Mike Ramos is dead and all that can be said is that that was a bad decision? That was [Taylor’s] choice," said Dexter Gilford, state attorney, during closing arguments.
The defense put up a fight and brought in their own set of witnesses and evidence to show Taylor did everything he could.
"The police officers you met in this case, including Chris, followed their training, did everything they were expected to do," said Doug O’Connell, defense attorney, during closing arguments.
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After two days of deliberating totaling around 16 hours, the jury has yet to reach a unanimous verdict.
"If they just came to a quick verdict, I'd be a little bit worried that they're not taking all the evidence that they heard over these last two weeks seriously," said Jorge Vela, an attorney.
Vela, an attorney unaffiliated with the trial, says he is not surprised the jury has not yet reached a unanimous decision. He says both sides have done well arguing their case, especially the defense.
"They've done an amazing job interjecting reasonable doubt into the state's case and making it very difficult to disprove that his actions were actually reasonable, that he was actually defending his fellow officers or even himself when he took that fatal shot. I think the biggest hurdle that the defense is going to have to go over, and one thing that the state did a good job of in their closing argument, was pointing out that he was the only one that took that deadly action," said Vela.
Given the complexity of this case, Vela says there are many resulting possibilities. This includes a hung jury, meaning they cannot come to a unanimous decision and the judge decides to rule a mistrial.
Instead of a mistrial, he says an Allen charge could be filed for a hung jury. This is when a hung jury is given instructions by the judge urging them all to agree on a unanimous verdict.
"It's hard to say whether in this case the defense will want an Allen charge. Maybe they want this jury deadlocked because ultimately a hung jury means that the prosecution will be able to retry this case. But think about how much government resources went into this particular trial. To do all that over again, it's extremely deflating for the state and, so, it's unclear whether the defense sees this as a good sign or bad sign," said Vela.
Right now, the plan is for the jury to keep deliberating. They will continue on Monday, Nov. 13, at 8 a.m.