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Ray Tensing will be tried again for murder, prosecutor wants change of venue

Deters filing for a change of venue
Posted at 9:08 AM, Nov 22, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Prosecutor Joe Deters will try ex-police officer Ray Tensing for murder and voluntary manslaughter, he announced Tuesday. The big difference this time around, Deters hopes, will be a change of venue.

"If I thought we couldn't win this case, I wouldn't retry it," Deters said.

Earlier this month, a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the murder and voluntary manslaughter charges against the former University of Cincinnati police officer, leading Judge Megan Shanahan to declare a hung jury and a mistrial.

 

"I've never had a hung jury in my life. Ever," Deters said Tuesday. "Can't remember the last time I had a not guilty verdict. Maybe 30 years ago."

Before the start of the first trial, Tensing's attorney Stew Mathews requested a change of venue. The request was denied.

Deters said he plans to request a change of venue for the trial, saying it would be very difficult to find an impartial jury in Hamilton County. A judge will need to grant the motion for a change of venue. He said "Columbus or Cleveland would be fine with me."

Deters said the jury's fear of being identified was a factor that worked against his case.

"We had a revolt in the jury room," Deters said. "The jurors were afraid people would learn their names."

He said the jury likely heard and discussed things that were not pertinent to the case.

"No question in my mind, issues were being discussed in the jury room that shouldn't have been discussed," Deters said.

Deters will personally retry the case. He said he doesn't know of a case that was ever moved out of Hamilton County.

 

The prosecutor previously said he would bring the same charge(s) against Tensing, because they match "the facts."

"I believe he intentionally shot Sam DuBose in the head and it wasn't justified, period," Deters said. "In the country I love, you don't get shot in the head for leaving a traffic stop."

Bishop Bobby Hilton, a prominent local black minister, issued a statement shortly after Deters announced he would retry Tensing.

"It is an emotional relief for the Dubose family and many in our community to know, the pursuit of justice will continue," Hilton said in a statement. "We stand with the family, trusting and hoping that the model of peacefully waiting and allowing the judicial process to proceed will be completed with a conviction."

Hilton previously said he would give Deters a week to announce that he would retry Tensing before his group reevaluated their opposition strategy; the deadline was Monday.

Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police president Dan Hils said Tuesday he supported the change of venue -- too many public officials had commented on the case, he said.

"How can a normal citizen of this county go into this trial without being poisoned?" Hils said.

Deters said he would expect the new trial, should it be moved, to begin around the spring 2017.

For all of WCPO's coverage on the Tensing trial, visit WCPO.com/TensingTrial.