Prosecutor Joe Deters says he'll retry Ray Tensing, wants change of venue
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Tuesday that he will retry former UC police officer Ray Tensing on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges. His announcement follows the first trial with ended with a hung jury.
Tensing shot and killed Sam DuBose during a traffic stop off-campus on July 19, 2015. During the first trial, Tensing said he feared he was being dragged and would be killed after DuBose put the car into gear. Deters said Tensing was not in danger of losing his life and called his story "a total lie".
"We are seeking justice," said Deters. "It's my believe that Sam DuBose was murdered, period. Sam, according to accounts because I did never know him, was a good guy. He was in trouble a lot, like a lot of people are, but that doesn't make his life any less relevant or have less value. As I've said 100 times, in the country that I love, you don't get shot in the head for getting pulled over in a traffic stop."`
In the end, the 12 jurors could not agree on a verdict. Since then the prosecution has interviewed the jurors and reviewed the transcripts of the trial. Deters said he believes there is a probability of success with another trial.
Deters said the parties involved expect to meet with Judge Megan Shanahan to discuss the logistics and request a change of venue. He believes it would be "incredibly difficult" to find an impartial jury. He can't remember the last time a trial was moved out of Hamilton County.
He believes it didn't help that the original jury heard about this case for a year before they were picked to hear the case. They heard about Tensing's background and Sam's background. Deters said there's no question in his mind that issues were discussed during deliberations that should not have been discussed.
When asked if he'd like to see a more diverse jury, Deters said sure. He said the first five African Americans that came up in the jury pool indicated that they didn't want to serve. He said he didn't want the trial to be about race but it's the elephant in the room.
Deters said he found no fault with Judge Shanahan's handling of the case. He says she was fair to both sides and did a great job.
Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President Jay McDonald released this statement. “Hamilton County plans to retry Officer Ray Tensing. Hamilton County has already spent more than a half million dollars of tax payer money on this case and to retry it with the exact same charges is wasteful and will likely produce the same results. It’s important to note that while the previous jury was advised by experts, had the benefit of good lawyers advising them and all the time it needed to deliberate after the trial and it could not reach a verdict. Ray Tensing had to make a life or death judgment call in the matter of a split second. As a fellow police officer, I’m concerned about the dangerous precedent that this case could have on other officers who might hesitate in a moment when decision-making is literally life or death. This is especially meaningful at a time when police are being targeted and assassinated at a shocking rate. We’re disappointed that Officer Tensing will be subjected to a second trial, but what’s most important now is for him to get a fair hearing. That must start with the prosecutor and media acting more responsibly, without creating a circus atmosphere before, during and after the trial."