Jury Reaches Verdict In Betty Shelby Trial After 9 Hours
TULSA, Oklahoma - The jury in the Betty Shelby manslaughter trial reached a verdict after nine hours of deliberation.
The jury was handed the case just after noon Wednesday. Just before 7 p.m., the jury sent Judge Doug Drummond a note, asking if they could explain their verdict.
The judge said the jury can announce the verdict in open court, but they cannot give an explanation in open court.
Also during deliberations, Shelby's team emailed the judge to ask for a mistrial, saying the district attorney used defense exhibits as their own during the trial but then misled the jury during closing arguments.
The judge overruled the request for a mistrial.
Earlier Wednesday, prosecuting and defense attorneys had their last words in the manslaughter trial. The theme of District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler's first closing argument was "why?"
He challenged the jury ask themselves the reasons why.
Why did Officer Tyler Turnbough tell Shelby to holster her weapon? Why did Corporal Wyett Poth tell her "not to say a word" when he arrived on scene?
Kunzweiler tells the jury that the reason those things happen, is because the officers all knew it was a bad shooting immediately.
Kunzweiler finished by asking the jury to hold him accountable if he did not prove she acted in the heat of passion, she should be found not guilty. But he says he believes he has proven that to be true.
During the defense's closing arguments, attorney Shannon McMurray questioned why Doug Campbell was chosen as the lead investigator for the DA's office, instead of another investigator that had more experience investigating officer involved shootings.
McMurray also brought up Shelby's behavior in the DRE classroom, which Kunzweiler called a meltdown.
McMurray said, "If a man had raised his voice, would he have had a meltdown? I'm offended."
She said Shelby's choice to shoot Crutcher was not a guess. She completely relied on her training.
And as for her emotion in her statement video, McMurray said all that proved is that Shelby cares.
McMurray says she's confident that if the jury relies *only on the facts*, and not passions, prejudices, or biases--they will find Shelby not guilty.
Kevin Gray delivered the final closing argument for the state. He said the facts in the case are a problem for Shelby. He said Shelby said she didn't fire a second shot because the first one ended the threat, but Gray said after he was shot, Crutcher remained at the window for 12 seconds before falling, which is why the other officer used his Taser twice.
Gray said if that officer felt Crutcher was still a threat, why didn't Shelby keep firing.
Prior to closing arguments, the judge read the jury instructions to begin Day 8. The district attorney's office gave their closing argument first and Shelby's defense followed. The DA's office will deliver a final argument following Shelby's defense team.
The case has put a national spotlight on Tulsa since the September 16, 2016, shooting of Terence Crutcher by Officer Shelby. Crutcher was unarmed when he was shot, but Shelby contends that she shot her gun because Crutcher was reaching inside the window of his vehicle and she thought he was reaching for a gun.
He said Shelby's version didn't match the other two officers.
Tuesday afternoon, the judge told the jury to pack a lunch today because they would likely be eating and deliberating at the same. The jury was also told that no one knows how long it may take them to reach a verdict, so to let their family know they may be working late Wednesday.
The jury won't be allowed to leave until a decision is reached.
In preparation of the verdict, both Tulsa law enforcement and religious leaders have been getting ready.
The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said it’s been preparing for some time now, and one religious leader said he's urging peace no matter what the outcome.
Undersheriff George Brown said the sheriff’s office spoke with other first responders Tuesday, as well as ensuring routes to the courthouse remain clear.
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