DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The jury continues to deliberate in the trial of a Dallas man accused in the kidnap murder of a teenage girl in 2015.
While on her way to church, 18-year-old Zoe Hastings stopped to return a movie and then disappeared.
Before lunchtime on Thursday it had been nearly seven hours since jurors set out to decide the fate of Antonio Cochran.
While the wait must be difficult for the Hastings family, as they sat at the courthouse they appeared relaxed and were smiling and chatting with the supporters that have been with them for the duration of the trial. They, like everyone else involved in the case, can only do one thing – wait.
The case was turned over to the jury on Wednesday and while the group even opted to work through lunch that first day they still haven’t reached a decision. It does appear as if the jury is making progress though. They sent out for answers to several questions yesterday afternoon. The group asked for a picture of the Walgreen’s store where Hastings disappeared, and they wanted to know about the timeline of when police interviewed prosecution witnesses.
The questions seem to suggest that the jury is spending time debating the credibility of a particular witness – Gary Whitman. Whitman testified that he saw a man make a stabbing motion with what could have been a knife. He said he heard Hastings scream for help, but admitted he never saw the man’s face.
During the trial Cochran’s attorneys had countered his testimony saying that from his location across the street he couldn’t possibly have seen or heard anything.
Whether or not Hastings was taken from that drug store parking lot by force is key, because in order for Cochran to be convicted of Capital Murder the prosecution has to prove Hastings death happened during the commission of another crime.
If the jury determines there isn’t enough evidence to prove Hastings was kidnapped, they were given the option of finding Cochran guilty of the lesser charge of Murder.
A Capital Murder conviction means an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.