UPDATE: No verdict in Hastings manslaughter trial; deliberations to continue Sunday
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Nine women and three men spent more than 7 hours Saturday deliberating the fate of a former police officer who shot and killed a teenager in August, but could not reach a verdict.
The Josh Hastings manslaughter trial was handed over to the jury around 11:00 Saturday morning after closing arguments wrapped up. At 6:00 p.m., they were still behind closed doors so Judge Wendell Griffen sent them home for the night, saying, "You've been working hard. I'm going to send you home to work some more [on a verdict]."
Hastings shot 15-year-old Bobby Moore, III, when he caught Moore and two other teens burglarizing cars in a West Little Rock apartment complex. He has admitted to the shooting but insisted that it was in self defense because Moore was trying to run him over with a car.
Prosecutors say Moore was actually stopping or even driving away from Hastings at the time of the shooting.
Reconstruction experts called by both the prosecution and defense also contradicted each other about whether scratches on the car mean Hastings' story is right or they were just from normal wear and tear.
In closing arguments Saturday, defense lawyer Bill James said Hastings acted reasonably and felt threatened. They also drove home their belief that the prosecution was looking for a conviction, not the truth.
On the other hand, Prosecutor John Johnson said that the defense wanted jurors to simply let Hastings off or "trust the badge." He argued that "just because you're suited to do the job, doesn't mean you shouldn't be held accountable," referring to allegations that Hastings panicked during this incident. He even went so far as to claim that if Hastings is not found guilty, it would - in effect - create a safe haven for police officers.
The jury will return to the courthouse Sunday morning at 11:30. Deliberations will continue at noon.