CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A jury has recommended a 3-month sentence for a Richmond police officer found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of an 18-year-old in Chesterfield in 2015.
"Members of the Richmond Police family were saddened today to hear of the manslaughter conviction of Officer David Cobb. The judicial system has taken its course and we will respect the outcome," said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham in a statement. "The Department will now begin an internal, administrative investigation into the incident. Officer Cobb remains on administrative leave status."
The jury deliberated for several hours Wednesday evening and Thursday morning before delivering the verdict. On Thursday morning they had asked the judge for a copy of one witness testimony and for a copy of the Virginia code to define manslaughter and murder.
After this note from the Jury was given to the judge: "we cannot reach a consensus on all counts. How should we proceed?" the judge brought the jury out, telling them this is a very important case - both for the defendant and the prosecution - and that there is no reason to believe the prosecutors and defense could have presented a better case.
The judge encouraged the jury to go back to deliberating to determine a verdict. He explained the decision needs to be unanimous and while they need to listen to each other and consider other opinions, they should not change their judgment simply to reach a verdict.
While Cobb was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, he was found not guilty in using or displaying a firearm in a threatening way to commit murder.
The jury was made up of eight men and six women, but two alternatives were excused on Wednesday, leaving seven men and five women to decide the verdict.
This week's testimony focused on training for police officers, with expert witness Michael Musselwhite of the Richmond Police Department. Musselwhite was grilled by both sides over the proper protocol for officers and was questioned about the training those officers go through.
He explained that twice a year, Richmond police officers go through training to build up muscle memory when faced with a potentially deadly situation. He discussed the importance of observing a suspect's hands, which can be used to grab a weapon or assault an officer.
He also pointed out that non-compliance from a suspect is often seen as a threat.
The prosecution also questioned Musselwhite over the use of a shooting simulator, which is used to put stress on an officer in training situations.
On Wednesday afternoon, the jury witnessed four different scenarios through that shooting simulator. It was the first time such a simulator is used in a Chesterfield courtroom.
Cobb's girlfriend also took the stand this week. She works as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Richmond and described a phone call she got from Cobb on the day of the shooting. She said she picked up the phone and hear him screaming commands, yelling "stop moving" and "show me your hands" before the call dropped.
She was in a salon nearby and began running towards the car wash. She called Cobb back and said he was crying, telling her he just shot someone. She called dispatch, saying an off-duty police officer was involved in a shooting. Cobb couldn't hold back his tears during her testimony, rubbing his eyes and hanging his head.
Cobb's initial trial last year ended in a hung jury.
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