Jason Van Dyke Trial Live Blog: Jury Deliberations End Without Verdict

Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder charge for fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014

What to Know

  • Van Dyke is charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old McDonald nearly four years ago
  • The Chicago police officer was captured on dashcam video shooting McDonald 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014, on the city's Southwest Side
  • Van Dyke entered a plea of not guilty

NBC Chicago will offer a live stream with complete coverage beginning right here. NOTE: Not all witness testimony will be available for streaming will not appear on camera. You may notice intermittent bars and pauses.

Closing statements were presented to the jury Thursday in the high-profile murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014. 

Hours later, jury deliberations began. 

In nearly three weeks of trial, the defense called 20 witnesses, including Van Dyke himself, to make their case that McDonald, a black teenager armed with a knife, posed a threat when Van Dyke, a white officer, opened fire on him. 

Prosecutors tried to highlight inconsistencies in Van Dyke's testimony, particularly in comparison with dashcam video of the shooting released in 2015.

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder more than a year after he shot McDonald on the city's Southwest Side. He also faces 16 counts of aggravated battery - one for each shot fired - and one count of official misconduct. He entered a plea of not guilty. 

The shooting and subsequent release of the video prompted massive protests across the city and catapulted Chicago into the national spotlight. In the aftermath, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the city's police superintendent and voters ousted the Cook County state's attorney in the following primary election. 

The case also sparked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that found the Chicago Police Department engaged in systemic violation of civil rights for years. A new consent decree was put into place in September that promised reforms. 

Special prosecutors rested their case against Van Dyke last Thursday after calling 24 witnesses over three and a half days.

Van Dyke's fate will now be in the hands of the jury, made up of 8 women and 4 men tasked with deciding what really happened on that October night in 2014. 

Follow along live from court below.

5:29 p.m.: Two of the jurors are also requesting smoke breaks, saying they are having trouble concentrating. The jury will be sequestered tonight and the judge is taking steps to make sure their parked cars are not towed or broken into.

5:26 p.m.: Judge Gaughan scolds Jason Van Dyke for leaving the courthouse this afternoon. Van Dyke was not here, he says, because his child was threatened at school. Judge Gaughan called it inexcusable and threatened to revoke his bond.

5:20 p.m.: Day 1 of jury deliberations comes to an end with no verdict in the Jason Van Dyke murder trial. Before excusing them for the day, the jury asked the judge for transcripts of Officer Joe Walsh’s testimony- Van Dyke’s partner.

12:33 p.m.: After nine days of testimony from 44 defense and prosecution witnesses, the fate of Jason Van Dyke now lies in the hands of eight women and four men. They will deliberate two counts of first-degree murder, a lesser charge of second-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct.

12:28 p.m.: Jury deliberations begin in the Jason Van Dyke murder trial. Their verdict will come almost four years to the day of that fateful night.

12:03 p.m.: Judge Vincent Gaughan tells the jury that Jason Van Dyke is presumed innocent of all the allegations against him, unless they are convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the allegations were proven.

11:55 a.m.: Prosecutors end by telling the jury that the 16 bullets that pierced Laquan McDonald’s flesh were "not justified, not necessary. It was first-degree murder." The jury is now receiving their deliberation instructions.

11:47 a.m.: Over and over again, the special prosecutor uses Van Dyke’s own words against him, saying Van Dyke was intent on shooting Laquan when he told his partner, before they even arrived on he scene. "Why didn’t they shoot him if he’s attacking them...we’re going to have to shoot him."

11:30 a.m.: Prosecutors get final word with rebuttal closings. "What you’re not going to have to consider is motive, or malice or premeditation. It’s not relevant. [It’s] nothing the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt."

11:15 a.m.: Dan Herbert closes by reiterating that officers are allowed to use deadly force. That police are here to protect and serve. Then tells the jury, the right decision is not always the easiest decision. "No one can fault you. Follow your heart. Follow your soul. Follow your mind."

10:30 a.m.: Defense attorneys are now trying to hammer home the point that the evidence presented provides reasonable doubt. They are pulling up transcripts from trial testimony in which witnesses testified that they considered Laquan McDonald’s actions that night threatening.

10:21 a.m.: Dan Herbert describes the the shooting as a tragedy, not a murder. And that it could have been avoided if only Laquan McDonald would have dropped the knife. He says the charge of first-degree murder is unprecedented.

10:17 a.m.: Defense begins closing arguments by thanking the jury, but says they still have work to do. "Your job is just beginning. Now you have to make the determination that decides the fate of Jason Van Dyke."

10:13 a.m.: After just 27 minutes, the prosecution ends is closing arguments with a final thought for the jury. "When [the shooting is] not justified, it’s first-degree murder. It’s aggravated battery. It’s official misconduct. No one is above the law."

10 a.m.: Prosecutors are driving home the fact that Laquan McDonald was riddled with bullets and bled to death. They show the jury his autopsy photos again,  "[McDonald] was riddled with bullets, broken and and bleeding when the defendant finished shooting."

9:53 a.m.: During closing arguments, prosecutors reveal that jurors can deliberate a lesser charge of second-degree murder. Not just first-degree murder.

9:48 a.m.: "It’s not the Wild West out there. Officers can’t just shoot someone and justify it later."

9:45 a.m.: Closing arguments begin in Jason Van Dyke trial. "Laquan McDonald was never going to walk home that night. The defendant said on the way to the scene, "We’re going to have to shoot the guy."


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