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Betty Shelby found not guilty of 1st-degree manslaughter in Crutcher shooting

Betty Shelby entering the courtroom at the Tulsa County Courthouse on the ahead of closing arguments for her manslaughter trial. (KTUL)
Betty Shelby entering the courtroom at the Tulsa County Courthouse on the ahead of closing arguments for her manslaughter trial. (KTUL)
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After nine hours of deliberations, the jury has reached a verdict in the manslaughter trial of Officer Betty Shelby.

Shelby was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher. The Crutcher family is expected to address the media alongside the district attorney after a brief private meeting.

Just after 9 p.m., Tiffany Crutcher, Terence Crutcher's twin sister, announced a verdict was in.

Hours into deliberations, defense attorneys requested a mistrial. Defense attorney Shannon McMurray alleged prosecutorial misconduct but the judge denied the request.

Jurors also sent a note to the judge asking if when they deliver the verdict they can also deliver a statement. The judge said no but said jurors are free to discuss the case after the trial.

Jurors were handed the case around noon Wednesday after hearing closing arguments from prosecutors and the defense.

Shelby was charged with manslaughter in the heat of passion for killing Crutcher in September 2016. Her trial spanned eight days and has focused on whether she was justified in using deadly force against Crutcher, who was unarmed, or if she acted irrationally out of fear.

Shelby testified for more than two hours Monday about her training as a Tulsa police officer and how she believed Crutcher was reaching for a gun inside his SUV when she fired.

"If you hesitate, if you delay, then you die," Shelby told the courtroom Monday.

The defense called for a mistrial Tuesday, claiming prosecutors implied Shelby is guiltybecause she waited three days to speak to investigators. The judge denied the motion and the defense restedTuesday morning. Attorneys for bothsides spent the afternoon discussing jury instructions.

The courtroom has been packed each day of the trial with dozens waiting outside in the hallway for a chance to enter. On Wednesday, dozens of people were left outside, including Marq Lewis, founder of We the People Oklahoma. Lewis said he is filing a complaint with the Oklahoma Bar Association against Judge Doug Drummond for not moving to a larger courtroom so more spectators could enter.

Lewis collected signatures from spectators not allowed in the courtroom and said he planned to mail them to the bar association Wednesday.

Jurors must weigh five factors to reach a guilty verdict for first-degree manslaughter in the heat of passion.

  1. The death of a human occurred.
  2. It was caused by the defendant.
  3. The death was not excusable or justifiable.
  4. The death was inflicted in a cruel and unusual manner or with a dangerous weapon.
  5. The defendant acted in the heat of passion when causing the victim's death.

Shelby faces four year to life in prison if convicted. She would be required to serve 85 percent of her sentence.

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Read more about the Terence Crutcher shooting death.

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