UPDATE: The jury is currently at an impasse and continues deliberations this afternoon. The court is closed tomorrow. It’s unclear whether there will be a verdict today.
Following the closing arguments of the Kenneth Duckett murder trial, which were heard earlier this week, the jury asked Judge Joseph Cassini III, that transcripts from five witness testimonies be re-read on this fourth day of deliberations.
After an initial discussion between Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Gran, defense attorney Thomas Ashley and the Judge, four of the five testimonies were approved for re-reading; Natasha Richardson (a lifeguard on duty at the “Y” at the time of the shooting), William Johnson (who drove Duckett to the YMCA), John Carlson (a parent who was in the pool observation area at the time of the shooting) and Duckett’s own testimony, starting from when he entered the YMCA.
Cassini denied a fifth request for the re-reading of the prosecuting attorney’s opening statement, saying that the opening is “not evidence, but merely the attorney’s interpretive views of the evidence.”
Paul’s family members, including her mother Joanne Paul, are amongst the few in attendance in the Superior Courtroom today, where the mood is somber and quiet. According to Baristanet reporter Michael Donofrio, Duckett sat very still throughout the morning, rarely looking around. The jury of 12 and three alternates, listened attentively to this morning’s proceedings. Many who have been attentively following the case, were anticipating a decision before the holiday break, but based on the jury’s request today, it is unclear when a verdict might come.
The courtroom is now on lunch break, and our reporter has overheard speculative conversation about whether or not the Judge may opt to continue through the afternoon, going over the scheduled time. We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.