Jurors concluded about 24 hours of deliberations in the manslaughter trial of officer Jeronimo Yanez without reaching a verdict, pushing talks into their fifth day Friday.
There was little activity Thursday before the jurors were recessed for the day about 4:30 p.m.
In a change from previous days, the jury had lunch catered in instead of leaving the Ramsey County Courthouse. The jury of five women and seven men, including two people of color, first appeared to be stalled Wednesday on whether Yanez is criminally culpable for last year’s fatal shooting of Philando Castile.
About 1:40 p.m. Thursday, Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, and her attorney Glenda Hatchett arrived at the eighth floor of the courthouse to await any developments, leaving about an hour before jurors when it became apparent that nothing would come that day.
The first sign of a potential stall came when Ramsey County District Judge William H. Leary III convened jurors about 2:55 p.m. Wednesday and reread portions of the jury instructions they received earlier in the week. He did not explicitly explain why the jurors were being addressed and did not say whether they had sent a note to the court about the progress of their deliberations.
“You should discuss the case with one another and deliberate with a view toward reaching agreement, if you can do so without violating your individual judgment,” Leary told the jurors. “You should decide the case for yourself, but only after you have discussed this case with your fellow jurors and have carefully considered their views.
“You should not hesitate to re-examine your views and change your opinion if you become convinced they are erroneous, but you should not surrender your honest opinion simply because other jurors disagree or merely to reach a verdict.”
Jurors listened intently with no overt reaction and were quickly dismissed to continue their deliberations. They continued until 4:30 p.m. Thursday without reaching a decision and are expected to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Yanez, 29, is charged in Ramsey County with one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm for killing Castile, 32, last July 6 in Falcon Heights. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her daughter, then 4, were also in the car at the time. Reynolds livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook, drawing worldwide attention to Castile’s death.
The jury received Yanez’s case Monday afternoon.
Prosecutors argued that Yanez, who is Mexican-American, racially profiled Castile, a black man, when he stopped him for a nonworking brake light. Yanez testified that he also wanted to investigate whether Castile was a suspect in the armed robbery of a nearby convenience store four days earlier. Castile was never connected to the robbery.
Defense attorneys argued that Castile was culpably negligent in the shooting because he volunteered that he possessed a gun without disclosing that he had a permit to carry it, that he reached for it instead of keeping his hands visible, and that he was high on marijuana, rendering him incapable of following Yanez’s order not to reach for the gun. Yanez testified last week that he fired because he feared for his life.
A gun was recovered from Castile’s right front shorts pocket as medics and police prepared to move him onto a backboard. Castile had a permit to carry the handgun.