Cal Harris Jury Deliberates for a 9th Day, Still No Verdict
After receiving word yesterday that jurors were once again deadlocked, the judge insists the jury continue deliberations for the 9th day in the trial of Cal Harris.
The Owego man is charged with the death of his wife Michele who disappeared in September 2001. No body or murder weapon has ever been found.
This morning Judge George Bartlett told jurors that with the complexity of this case he doesn't feel that have deliberated long enough to declare a hung jury he then issued the Allen charge for a second time during these deliberations and sent the jury to continue their deliberations
Now he did issue a softened form of the Allen charge specifically telling jurors that while he would like them to continue their deliberations with open minds aimed at reaching a verdict the court is not asking them to violate their consciences or to render a verdict at all costs.
Defense attorney Bruce Barket made two motions for mistrial regarding the Allen charge, the first arguing that reading the charge again is coercive and the second after noticing one of the jurors was crying upon hearing they would have to continue their deliberations.
But District Attorney Kirk Martin agreed with the judge saying that with the length of this trial its appropriate and reasonable for deliberations to continue.
Both of the defense team's motions were ultimately denied.
Jurors were fairly silent for the remainder of the day only asking to hear the portion regarding motive and intent read back.
It's been more than 40 hours since jurors received this case and they will return again tomorrow morning for a 10th day of deliberations.