Prosecutor says he thinks Judge Ghiz will add lesser charges in Tensing case

Deters talks with Tanya O'Rourke
Posted at 1:40 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 07:16:08-04

CINCINNATI -- While he can't say much -- due to an active gag order -- Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said he thinks Ray Tensing will face additional charges in his second trial. Judge Leslie Ghiz can add lesser charges for the jury's consideration, and Deters said he thinks she'll opt to do that.

The ex-police officer is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter, the same charges he faced in his first trial.

Tensing’s attorneys filed a motion Wednesday afternoon asking Judge Leslie Ghiz to dismiss the case, claiming Deters violated a gag order by speaking to our Tanya O'Rourke for this story.

Deters said jurors in the first trial voted 10-2 to convict Tensing of voluntary manslaughter (he didn't specify when this vote took place). That vote, in part, helped Deters' office to try Tensing again.

"With that overwhelming potential for guilt on one of the counts, we decided to retry," he said.

Shortly after Judge Megan Shanahan declared a mistrial in the November 2016 trial, Deters said he wouldn't change the charges against Tensing because "they match the crime." Deters said Tensing purposefully shot unarmed motorist Sam DuBose in the head in Mount Auburn in July 2015. 

However, Deters said Judge Ghiz -- who is hearing the new trial -- could add lesser counts to the charges against Tensing for the jury's consideration.

"And I suspect she will," Deters said.

RELATED: Everything you need to know before ex-officer Ray Tensing's murder retrial begins

Deters made the decision to retry the case and filed a motion for a change of venue.

However, he announced in January that he wouldn't try to case; he said he wouldn't have time amidst the resentencing hearing of convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland, also scheduled to begin this month. Three weeks ago, the Kirkland hearing was postponed to Aug. 21.

"This was a hard decision for me, as I feel strongly about prosecuting the Tensing case myself, but it is crucial that both cases have prosecutors assigned who can properly prepare," he said.

Chief Assistant Prosecutors Seth Tieger and Stacey DeGraffenreid will prosecute the Tensing case.

Deters was hard on himself following the mistrial. He said "I need to do better."

In hindsight, the prosecutor said he wishes he "was more eloquent and persuasive to the jury."

RELATED: WCPO files complaint over rules for media during Tensing retrial

"But I am who I am and I did my best," Deters said. "But when you're dealing with police officers and things like that, it's kind of a crap shoot."

Deters said there were two jurors who "would not convict a police officer."

"Some people said 'you're never going to get a unanimous conviction against a police officer,' and I kind of poo-pooed on that," Deters said. "But there were two jurors who just would not convict a police officer, period."

Jury selection begins Thursday morning. About 250 potential jurors will report to the Hamilton County courthouse to fill out questionnaires.

Web Editor Marais Jacon-Duffy contributed to this report.

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