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Defense rests in Betty Shelby manslaughter trial; verdict expected Wednesday

Paris Burris / Red Dirt Report
Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, speaks with Tiffany Crutcher and Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons during the manslaughter trial for Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby. Shelby fatally shot Crutcher’s twin brother, Terence Crutcher, on Sept. 16.
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TULSA, Okla. — Jurors are expected to deliver a verdict Wednesday in Tulsa Police Officer Shelby’s manslaughter trial after the defense team rested its case Tuesday morning.

It’s unknown how long it will take the jury of 12 — nine women and three men, including one black man and two black women — to deliberate and reach a conclusion as to whether Shelby is guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the heat of passion for fatally shooting Crutcher on Sept. 16.

If found guilty, Shelby, who is white, faces up to life in prison for killing Crutcher, who was black.

Shelby’s defense rested its case shortly before noon after hearing testimonies from three witnesses.

Howard Williams, an expert defense witness, testified that in his extensive research of Tasers since 2005, burn marks or holes are always left on the target’s body after a Taser is successfully deployed.

However, no such marks were found on Crutcher’s body. Shelby fired her gun at the same moment Officer Tyler Turnbough deployed his Taser on Crutcher, which Turnbough testified he believed made Crutcher stiffen and stand on his toes, which are indicators of someone who has been shocked with a Taser.

Tulsa Police Department Sgt. Dave Walker took the witness stand for his third time during the trial, the first two times as a witness for the state.

Walker’s testimony was brief. He told the jury two 911 calls were made concerning Crutcher on the night of the shooting, one at 7:36 p.m. and the other at 7:38, just before Shelby called in Crutcher’s abandoned vehicle at 7:41.

Walker testified that Crutcher’s criminal past and his active warrants at the time of the shooting were important into his investigation of the shooting. However, prosecution has argued that Crutcher’s criminal history is not relevant because Shelby did not know about it when she shot him.

Expert Defense Witness David Klinger testified that it was appropriate for Shelby to shoot Crutcher, given that she had an “informed hypothesis” that he was a threat to her.

Shelby previously testified that she shot Crutcher because she thought he was reaching into the driver’s side window of his 2003 Lincoln Navigator to retrieve a gun to shoot her with.

No weapons were found in Crutcher’s vehicle.

“Everything we do is based on a guess,” Klinger said of law enforcement officers, which received audible groans from some people in the court gallery.

Klinger testified that, according to law enforcement training, Shelby shouldn’t have waited to see if Crutcher had a gun before shooting him, because she might have gotten shot first.

“You would be a fool to wait for me to shoot you,” Klinger said. “Officers never know for sure, unless bullets are flying, whether they’re about to be shot.”

Closing arguments are set to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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Paris Burris

Oklahoma City native Paris Burris started covering Tulsa news for Red Dirt Report in April 2017...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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