A third day of deliberations concluded without a verdict in the case of a man accused of abducting and killing an 18-year-old girl.
Jurors are scheduled to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Saturday in the capital murder trial of Antonio Cochran, who is accused of capital murder in the death of Zoe Hastings. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted.
Neither sides disputes that Cochran’s DNA was on the handle of the knife that killed Hastings. The defense has contended that there was no way to know when it ended up on the weapon.
Hastings disappeared in October 2015 after leaving home to return a movie and attend church. Her body and the minivan were found the following day in a creek bed.
Jurors have deliberated at least 16 hours over the last three days, taking frequent breaks.
During Fridays deliberations, it became clear that the jury was having a tough time reaching a verdict. Late in the afternoon, they asked how long they had to deliberate before it is declared a mistrial. They also wanted to know who decides punishment if they found Cochran guilty of murder, not capital murder.
Those questions led to a spirited discussions among the attorneys and the judge in the courtroom. They left the courtroom to continue the discussion.
The jurors were ultimately told they decide punishment, and that it’s up to them to notify the court if they are deadlocked.
Earlier in the day, jurors asked to see animation of Cochran’s records, which showed that his phone was not in that area where Hastings was kidnapped in the 45 days preceding her disappearance. The animation showed that the only time his phone was in the area was around the time of the kidnapping.
Jurors also asked that testimony related to the eyewitnesses read back to them. It appeared they still had questions about inconsistencies in the statements of the eyewitnesses.
On the first day of deliberations, the jury asked questions that indicated they had questions about the eyewitness testimony. Neither of those witnesses could identity Cochran as the man they saw, but they gave conflicting accounts of what they claim to have seen.
Hastings’ parents, as well as other family members and friends, have packed the courtroom each day of the trial. No family and friends have come to support Cochran.
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