Potter trial jury deliberates for entirety of Day 3 with no verdict

A quiet day from the jury in the Kimberly Potter manslaughter trial is leading to a fourth day of deliberations.

During day three on Wednesday, jurors began deliberating around 8:30 a.m. and wrapped up just after 6 p.m. In that time, there were no questions asked to judge Regina Chu and a verdict was not reached.

While the jury is not on a time limit, this week does have unique circumstances — Thursday will be the last day the jury has to come to a verdict before Judge Chu sends them home for the holiday.

If that happens, jurors would not return to deliberations until Monday. That’s something defense attorney Jack Rice – who is not connected to the Potter trial — says the jury likely doesn’t want to do.

"If [the jury] can’t decide [Thursday], they are going to come back [to Judge Chu] and say, ‘there’s no way. We are not going to come up with an answer – there is no answer for us in this trial,’" Rice said

He added at that point Judge Chu could either ask the jury to keep trying or declare a hung jury — meaning there would be no verdict in the trial.

For this case, the jury is deliberating two charges: First- and second-degree manslaughter.

Rice says the jury may be able to agree on one of the charges and not the other. If that happens, Judge Chu would bring the state and defense together — without the jury — to see what they’d like to do.

Those options include asking the jury to keep trying or going with a hung jury on one of the charges.

Rice said if that’s the case — or it’s a hung jury on both charges — the state would have a few options:

  • Start a new trial (on either both charges or one of the charges depending on what the jury decides)
  • Not retry the case (even if there is a hung jury on only one of the charges)
  • Negotiate a plea deal with Potter and her team

Jurors will be back for day four of deliberations Thursday morning. As for how they’re doing … in his experience, Rice expects not great.

"By day four, you’re going to have some tired, probably cranky, and probably maybe even angry jurors," Rice said. "You’re going to have a whole bunch of really surly people and I think they want to be done."