Jury reconvenes to determine verdict in Richmond officer's murder trial

Updated: Feb. 9, 2017 at 11:25 AM EST
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Paterson Brown Jr., a graduate of James River High School
Paterson Brown Jr., a graduate of James River High School

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The jury is in its second day of deliberations Thursday to determine the fate of David Cobb, a Richmond police officer who was off duty when he shot and killed Paterson Brown Jr. at a Chesterfield car wash in October 2015.

The jury needs to determine through evidence presented over three days if that shooting was done in self defense or malice.

On Wednesday, the jury entered into deliberations around 4 p.m. following closing arguments. More than two hours later they asked to be dismissed for the evening.

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.

That group re-entered the courtroom around 9 a.m. Thursday.

Thirty minutes later, the light came on over the jury's room, signaling that they either had a verdict or a question.

The group ended up having five questions, including if the judge read the questions aloud to the court.

Under law, the judge is required to do that. Judge Johnson decided to explain that process to the jury before reading all the questions aloud.
The jury then returned with only two questions, asking for a copy of one witness testimony and also asking for a copy of the Virginia code to define manslaughter and murder.

The two questions left out were if those were the only two charges the jury can consider and if jurors names get released once the trial is over.

The jury then went back in to deliberate.

Testimony this week centered around 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.

Following the simulation, Cobb's girlfriend took the stand. 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.

This is the second trial for Cobb. The first trial resulted in a hung jury.

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