Charges dropped against Ray Tensing in fatal shooting of Sam DuBose
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The murder and voluntary manslaughter charges against Ray Tensing have been dismissed in Hamilton County and cannot be brought against him a third time. However, Judge Leslie Ghiz denied the defense motion to actually acquit Tensing.
Prosecutor Joe Deters had said he would not try Tensing a third time. Juries in two different trials could not unanimously agree on a verdict. Mistrials were declared in both.
Deters said he had come to the conclusion to officially dismiss the case after talking to jurors. He said they told him he would never get 12 people to agree to convict a police officer.
Tensing shot and killed Sam DuBose during a traffic stop in July 2015. Tensing said he was hung up in the car and feared for his life. He said he shot DuBose in the head to "stop the threat." Deters maintained the shooting was murder because Tensing intentionally shot DuBose in the head to kill him. The prosecutor said video proved Tensing was not being dragged.
Defense attorney Stew Mathews wanted what's called a Rule 29. If Judge Ghiz had allowed it, it would have validated Mathews' claims that there was insufficient evidence against his client. Assistant prosecutor Seth Tieger argued against the motion. He said the assistant prosecutors in both trials still believe that Tensing is guilty of murder and that just because the juries couldn't come to a unanimous decision, that doesn't mean there wasn't sufficient evidence to support a conviction.
Mathews told Judge Ghiz that Rule 29 would give the DuBose family what it wants. "Two different juries did not think that the evidence arose to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You, as the final arbiter of this matter, have the ability to give finality to this case, at least in the state's system, which is what apparently the DuBose family, many members of the DuBose family, wanted. They want finality, acquittal is finality."
Tieger argued that Mathews wanted the acquittal because it would possibly be strategically or tactically better for his client. In the end, Judge Ghiz denied Mathews' motion and granted the dismissal of the charges.
The U.S. Attorney's Office will now look into whether Tensing violated DuBose's civil rights. That investigation could take years. Those investigators can take into consideration evidence that was not allowed at trial.
People belonging to a Facebook group called Support Ray Tensing plan to hold a vigil Monday at 6 p.m. They'll meet at Sawyer Point Pavilion at 6 p.m. and then they'll walk across the Purple People Bridge to support the Tensing family. Organizers say they'll pray for both the Tensing and DuBose families.