Former UC officer Ray Tensing pleads not guilty to murder

Bond set at $1 million

CINCINNATI -- Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday morning in the July 19 shooting death of Sam DuBose during a routine traffic stop in Mount Auburn.

Tensing appeared wearing a black-and-white jail uniform in the courtroom of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan E. Shanahan at 10 a.m. with his attorney, Stew Mathews for his arraignment hearing. 

The 25-year-old former officer also pleaded not guilty to secondary charge of voluntary manslaughter in the hearing that lasted just two minutes and 34 seconds.

Tensing turned himself in to authorities Wednesday afternoon at the Hamilton County Courthouse Downtown with his attorney about an hour after Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced a grand jury’s decision to charge him with murder. Tensing shot DuBose in the head during an off-campus stop. 

Shanahan also set a $1 million bond for Tensing, at the request of Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier.

"My reaction to the bond is that it is not really reasonable, although the judge did make it a ten-percent bond which I think helps us out, Mathews said afterward. He had asked for a lesser amount, saying that Tensing had "an exemplary record" and a lifelong Hamilton County resident.

Shanahan stated in court the amount was appropriate for the severity of the charge. Tensing has been in the Hamilton County Justice Center since turning himself in.

Mathews said Tensing's family was trying to get the cash together.

Sam DuBose's family said they were satisfied with the bond amount. A crowd gathered in the courtroom burst into applause at the $1 million bond announcement, but the judge quickly silenced them.

“This is without question a murder,” Deters said Wednesday afternoon. "He should have never been a police officer."

If convicted, Tensing faces at least 15 years in prison, and potentially a life sentence, on the murder charge. The voluntary manslaughter carries another possible 11 years.

Deters said he will seek life in prison for Tensing.

WATCH: Prosecutor releases former UC police officer's body camera

Mike Robison, spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which operates the jail, said Tensing is being treated like any other inmate and was sent through a medical evaluation and other processes.

Robison said the jail later determined where to place him as far as safety and security. Most inmates facing a serious charge of murder are placed in their own cell or pod, Robison said.

UC President Santa J. Ono told reporters during a press conference following the indictment that he and UCPD Chief Jason Goodrich terminated Tensing’s employment with the department.

Mathews, Tensing’s attorney, had earlier told WCPO he expected Tensing's incitement well in advance.

“He’s not doing well,” Mathews said. “He feels terrible about it. He didn’t become a police officer to go out and shoot anyone.”

Mathews also criticized Deters' announcement, saying he believes his client "has been thrown under the bus," and that "what Deters said was a disgrace" to Cincinnati law enforcement. 

If Tensing is not convicted, he could still face a civil suit. DuBose's family has hired attorney Mark O’Mara, best known for his defense of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, to represent them.

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