Jury Deliberates in Slain Officer Murder Trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Dallas County jury is deliberating in the capital murder case of a man accused of killing a Dallas police officer.

    The families of Charles Payne, 29, and Senior Cpl. Norman Smith are both awaiting the verdict.

    Deliberations in Slain Officer Case Stretch Into 12th Hour

    [DFW] Deliberations in Slain Officer Case Stretch Into 12th Hour
    A jury has not yet reached a verdict in the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing a Dallas police officer. (Published Thursday, Jun 9, 2011)

    The jury got the case Wednesday afternoon and had not reached a verdict after a day and a half of deliberations.

    The jurors are sequestered and will resume deliberations Friday morning. The judge in the case could allow jurors to deliberate on Saturday if they do not reach a decision Friday.

    Suspect Admits Firing Gun Unintentionally

    [DFW] Suspect  Admits Firing Gun Unintentionally
    The man facing a capital murder charge in the fatal shooting of a Dallas police officer, Charles Payne took the stand again today. (Published Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011)

    Smith's widow, Regina Smith, and dozens of Dallas police officers sat on the opposite side of the courtroom from Payne's family as closing arguments were announced.

    If convicted, Payne faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

    In question is whether Payne knew police officers were outside his door when he fired his gun. Payne testified that he shot his gun because he feared for his life and thought he was being robbed.

    "You have the right to defend yourself against apparent danger, and Charles Payne did exactly that," said his defense attorney, Ed "Bubba" King.

    Prosecutor David Alex questioned why the gun used to kill Smith was hidden inside a pillow if Payne was only trying to defend himself.

    "There's facts in dispute. Unlike many capital murder cases, there was a defense presented here, and you've got a defendant that doesn't have a prior criminal history," legal analyst Barry Sorrels said.

    Jurors must believe that Payne knowingly and intentionally killed Smith to convict him of capital murder.

    The jury also has the option to find Payne guilty of lesser charges, including murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.

    "It's impossible for us to know what's going on behind closed doors," Sorrels said. "We do know they're taking this case very seriously."

    NBC DFW's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.


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