AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the fifth day Wednesday, a Travis County jury continued to deliberate in the trial of Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor. He is being tried for murder in the 2020 shooting death of Michael Ramos.
Tuesday afternoon, Judge Dayna Blazey said the jury was confused about whether they had to be unanimous about specific elements of the charge Taylor is facing to move forward to the next. While the jury has to come to an ultimate decision unanimously, they do not need to agree on every element of the charge before discussing others.
The jurors also asked the court to refresh their memories on some testimony presented in the trial, but Blazey didn’t indicate which testimony the jury had asked for. That testimony was not provided to the jurors until late in the work day Tuesday.
Monday, Blazey issued what is referred to as an “Allen charge,” asking the jurors who were holding out to consider the majority’s side. Blazey said jurors announced earlier in the day that they could not come to a unanimous decision.
Should the jurors not be able to come to a unanimous decision, Blazey would be forced to declare a mistrial, it would be the second time in this case. In May 2023, a judge granted a mistrial because of issues with the jury process.
During the trial, state prosecutors worked to show that Ramos was driving away from officers — and that nobody was in danger of being hit by his vehicle — when Taylor shot and killed him.
Meanwhile, the overall message from Taylor’s attorneys: The only thing the jury needs to consider is whether Taylor’s perception of the threat was reasonable.
KXAN’s Grace Reader is covering the trial and providing updates on social media platform “X”:
Back at the courthouse for the fourth day of deliberations in the #ChristopherTaylor trial. Judge Dayna Blazey issued an Allen charge yesterday after the jury said they couldn't come to a unanimous decision. Today's thread 🔽— Grace Reader (@GraceReaderTV) November 14, 2023
And here's where we left off yesterday: pic.twitter.com/oSVBRXc8Xf
Read previous coverage:
- Jury hears closing arguments Tuesday in APD officer’s murder trial
- Defense rests case in APD officer’s murder trial
- Prosecutors rest case in APD officer’s murder trial, defense takes over
- State calls use-of-force expert in APD officer’s murder trial
- Prosecutors expect to wrap mid-week in APD officer’s murder trial
On the first day of this trial, Taylor’s attorneys reserved their opening statement and the jury only heard from prosecutors — who used maps, photos and screenshots of body-worn camera footage to walk jurors through the events leading up to Ramos’ death.
In the following days, the state would call multiple witnesses, including people on the scene during the shooting, Ramos’ girlfriend, police officers, a use-of-force expert, the CEO of a digital reconstruction company and the Travis County Medical Examiner.
After the state rested, the defense gave its opening statement, where attorney Doug O’Connell walked the jury through what evidence it would present. That included additional officers at the scene who were not called by the state, new dash camera video and additional expert witnesses who testified to APD training and what Taylor may have perceived.
On Monday, Nov. 6, the defense rested. The next day, jurors were taken to the scene of the shooting and allowed to walk around. Closing arguments happened later that afternoon, and the jury began deliberations Wednesday morning.