SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –
The judge in the Christopher Cope trial declared a mistrial in the penalty phase when jurors informed the court that they remain deadlocked at 7-5. The decision means Cope will not face the death penalty.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty in a case in which a jury agreed that Cope gunned down Shreveport Police Sgt. Timothy Prunty back in October 2010. The jury’s guilty verdict came Tuesday.
Jurors began deliberations Thursday shortly after 4 p.m. and returned for the final time today at about 4:45 p.m. to declare no hope to resolve the deadlock.
The nephew of the slain sergeant, Matthew Prunty Jr., had some choice words to describe his reaction to the deadlocked jury.
“My family and I were sad and disgusted. What worse of a crime can you commit than killing a police officer? It’s a slap in the face to my uncle and to every other law enforcement officer out there for not giving the man death. It’s a disgrace.”
Asked about whether solace is possible given that Cope will never be free again, Matthew Prunty says, “No. No, I do not because his family and stuff will be able to see him in prison. … I’m not going to get to see my uncle ever, and his family will still get to see him.”