TULSA, Okla. – Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of a white Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year.
Jurors will then to decide if Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby went too far Sept. 16 when she killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.
Testimony in the trial wrapped up Tuesday.
Prosecutors have said Shelby overreacted because Crutcher wasn’t being combative and had his hands raised high. Shelby’s attorneys have said Crutcher refused Shelby’s commands to lie down during a two-minute period before police cameras recorded the shooting.
Shelby testified Monday that she feared for her life and thought Crutcher was reaching inside his stalled SUV for a gun. He didn’t have one on him or in the vehicle.
The 43-year-old officer, who pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter, could spend four years to life in prison if she’s convicted.
Before attorneys for Shelby rested their case Tuesday, they asked Tulsa District Court Judge Doug Drummond to declare a mistrial, saying prosecutors improperly implied that Shelby was guilty because she took several days to make an official statement about her actions on the night of the shooting.
Drummond refused the request and later told jurors to return Wednesday for closing arguments.