Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Updated: Bradshaw jury deliberations end for tonight


December 15, 2009

By Jennifer Portman
DEMOCRAT senior WRITER

10 p.m.

Jurors have decided to break for the night. They will be sequestered at a hotel and deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

9:30 p.m.

Jurors are being told that if they wish, they may break for tonight, stay in a hotel and continue deliberations in at 9 a.m.

The jury in the murder trial of Deneilo Bradshaw has been deliberating for nine hours.
The court is waiting to hear back from the jury.

7:10 p.m.

The jurors have requested dinner.

They have not asked any questions, save for requesting a dry erase board to take notes.

5:30 p.m.

The jury in the murder trail of Deneilo Bradshaw has declined to order dinner, Circuit Judge Mark Walker just said.

"It's like reading tea leaves, " he said.

Hotel rooms - without television sets or telephones - have been secured for jurors in case they are unable to read a verdict tonight.

3:15 p.m.

The jury in the murder trial of Deneilo Bradshaw, one of two men accused of killing police informant Rachel Hoffman, has just asked for a dry erase board or some other large board to write on as it continues to deliberate in the case.

They have been deliberating for about an hour and half.

If Bradshaw is found guilty, the penalty phase will begin tomorrow morning. Jurors would hear from Rachel Hoffman's parents and the parents of Deneilo Bradshaw. After testimony from the families, the jury would deliberate to make a sentencing recommendation.

If found guilty of first-degree murder, Bradshaw faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.

12:35 p.m.

After two-and-a-half hours of closing arguments by the state and the defense, the jury in the murder trial of Deneilo Bradshaw, one of two men accused of killing police informant Rachel Hoffman, has just left the courtroom to begin deliberations.

9:20 a.m.

The jury in the murder trial of Deneilo Bradshaw is being read their instructions. Following the jury instructions, closing arguments will begin in the case.

Bradshaw, 24, of Tallahassee, is one of two men accused of killing police informant Rachel Hoffman. His step brother-in-law Andrea Green faces trial in October.

If found guilty of first-degree murder, Bradshaw faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is also charged with armed robbery with a firearm.

If they return a guilty verdict, jurors will make a sentencing recommendation in a separate penalty phase this week.

After two witnesses and less than 15 minutes, defense attorneys for Deneilo Bradshaw rested their case Monday, paving the way for closing arguments followed by jury deliberations today in the murder trial of one of the two men accused of killing confidential police informant Rachel Hoffman.

"The defense's case is going to be short and sweet," lead defense attorney Chuck Hobbs told the jury. "That Andrea Green shot and killed Rachel Hoffman and that Andrea Green threatened to kill Deneilo Bradshaw if he did not cooperate."

Green, who is Bradshaw's step brother-in-law, faces trial in October. Two men who spent time with Green as inmates at the Leon County Jail said the 27-year-old Perry native told them he shot Hoffman on dead-end Gardner Road.

One of the inmates, Ira Reynolds Jr., said Green also confided in him that he threatened to kill Bradshaw, 24, of Tallahassee, if he refused to drive Hoffman's car with her body inside.

Each defense witness was on the stand for less than five minutes. There was no cross examination by prosecutors, who called one rebuttal witness, Tallahassee Police Officer Tom Maltese.

In interviews with him, Maltese said, Green denied killing Hoffman and said he never threatened Bradshaw.

Bradshaw did not take the stand. His family was surprised by the brevity of the defense's case.

"God always has a plan. We know they are doing their best," said his mother Judianna Freeman. "The point of that was Deneilo Bradshaw did not kill Rachel Hoffman nor did he harm Rachel Hoffman."

Under state law, Bradshaw could be found guilty of first-degree murder even if he didn't pull the trigger. If found to be a principal player in her death — be it premeditated or as a consequence of a robbery — he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.

Jurors would recommend the sentence. Circuit Judge Mark Walker is to give it great weight, then make the call. If Bradshaw is found guilty, the sentencing phase likely would begin on Thursday.

Closing arguments are set to begin at 9 a.m. The jury is expected to begin deliberations after lunch. The 12 men and women and two remaining alternates will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.

"I need each of you all to pack a bag for yourselves," Walker told jurors before they left for the day. "Please, eat a big breakfast tomorrow."

Members of Bradshaw's family and Hoffman's parents will be in the courtroom as they have been for the entire trial, which saw testimony begin Dec. 7.

Before leaving the courtroom for the day Monday, Freeman, Bradshaw's mother, said: "We must all remember we never know the walk our children must walk so we never come to a judgment. Today it might be my child, tomorrow it might be yours."

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