DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jurors in the Antonio Cochran murder trial will work this weekend to try and reach a unanimous verdict.
Cochran is facing a capital murder charge for the October 2015 kidnap-murder of Dallas teenager Zoe Hastings. Hastings had stopped to return a Redbox movie on her way to church when she vanished.
Jurors at one point on Friday appeared to be inching toward a hung jury, sending a note to Judge Robert Burns III asking how long they would be required to deliberate before deciding that they were hopelessly deadlocked.
Judge Burns told the jury that they would need to make that decision, so they responded by getting back to work.
Jurors also wanted to know who would decide the sentence if they convicted Cochran on the lesser charge of murder. The jury would sentence Cochran if convicted.
The prosecution is pushing for a capital murder conviction which would mean an automatic life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. If jurors decide that prosecutors didn’t prove that Cochran kidnapped Hastings, they do have the option of convicting on the lesser charge of murder.
Although the jury is clearly frustrated, it appears that they are still working with the goal of reaching a unanimous decision. Late in the afternoon, after asking about a possible deadlock, jurors sent out another note asking about witness testimony they had heard in the case.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty after Cochran was diagnosed with an “intellectual deficiency.” The Supreme Court has barred the death penalty in such cases.
Jurors will resume deliberations Saturday morning at 9 a.m.