DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jurors continue to deliberate the fate of Antonio Cochran, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Dallas teenager Zoe Hastings two years ago. Friday marked the third day that the case was in the hands of the jury, and there is still no verdict.
The prosecution painted the picture of a teenager who loved God and her family. Hastings was on her way to church when she was taken. The 18-year-old girl was still so close to home that you could see her house from the crime scene, a Walgreens store where Hastings had stopped to return a Redbox movie.
Authorities located the Hastings family minivan in a creekbed the next morning. The teenager’s body was found nearby.
Cochran was charged with capital murder. Prosecutors tried to link him to the case using physical evidence, which the defense had argued was lacking. Eight women and four men have now been tasked with making sense of the testimony and deciding if Cochran is guilty.
All of the jurors must agree in order to reach a conviction. Just one dissenting vote is enough to keep the deliberations going, which appears to be where we are now. When asked if the lengthy deliberations are an encouraging sign for Cochran, defense attorney Paul Johnson said that he would not venture to guess about what the jury might be thinking.
If he is found guilty of capital murder, Cochran faces an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole. Prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty in this case because the 36-year-old defendant was diagnosed with some intellectual deficiencies.
Cochran had been acquitted of sexual assault charges in Texarkana just months before Hastings was found dead.