July 18 – WHEELING – After more than five hours of deliberation Monday afternoon, the jury tasked with deciding the fate of Monongalia County Sheriff’s Deputy Lance Kuretza returned home without reaching a unanimous decision on his guilt or innocence.
The jury will meet again on Tuesday morning to continue deliberations.
Before beginning their deliberations, U.S. Chief District Judge Thomas S. Kleeh instructed the jury that in order to convict Kuretza of the two counts he is charged with, they must find all parties of each charge to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence they were presented.
The first count Kuretza is charged with is disenfranchisement under the law. Kleeh explained that the indictment or formal accusation has four parts.
To find the defendant guilty, the jury must unanimously believe that the government has proven that Kuretza was under cover of the law, which neither party disputes that he was on duty as a uniformed officer. answering a call.
They must also find that the United States has proven that Kuretza deprived the victim, Quintin Graciano, of his Fourth Amendment rights against seizure or unreasonable force and that he did so voluntarily, which is the third part. which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The last part of the first count is the use of a dangerous weapon, which US attorneys say was pepper spray in this case, or that the offense resulted in bodily harm.
The second charge Kuretza faces is the destruction, alteration and tampering with recordings, which Kleeh says has three parts.
In order to convict Kuretza of Count 2, the prosecution must have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Kuretza knowingly falsified reports regarding the arrest and use of force against Graciano. They also had to prove that the reports had been falsified with the intention of hindering any investigation into the incident.
The third part is that the alleged crime was committed under the jurisdiction of the United States government. Because the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency of the United States, investigated the crime, both sides agreed that this part was true.
The seven men and five women on the jury heard four days of testimony last week from 10 witnesses called by US attorneys. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.