Jury to continue deliberating Thursday in trial for former Dallas officer accused in woman’s shooting death

Jury deliberations were cut short Wednesday in the aggravated assault trial for a former Dallas police officer.

Christopher Hess is on trial for the 2017 shooting death of Genevieve Dawes.

Jurors deliberated for more than an hour Tuesday, and then six hours on Wednesday, before asking to go home early.

The judge granted their request.

There wasn't an explanation given for why they asked to leave early, but longtime court watchers said it is fairly unusual for a jury to go home so early – at about 3 p.m. - right in the middle of deliberations.

Before they were released for the day, jurors were reminded of the rules not to talk about or seek information on the case.

“It's my understanding you guys want to leave for the day, which is fine,” Judge Brandon Birmingham said.

Judge Birmingham allowed jurors to leave early Wednesday afternoon.

The defendant, Hess, his attorneys, and the Dawes’ family went home without a verdict, in what is now day seven of the trial.

On January 18, 2017, 21-year-old Dawes was parked in an East Dallas parking lot with her common law husband, when officers approached, while checking out a suspicious persons report.

The defense told jurors Dawes had drugs in her system while behind the wheel.

Body camera video showed her ignoring repeated commands to get out of the SUV, and she then tried to drive off.

Hess' attorneys said he fired 12 shots, believing fellow officers were standing behind the moving SUV.

But the state argued Dawes was moving slowly, at walking pace, and no officers were behind the SUV.

They said Hess violated the department's deadly force policy by firing on a moving vehicle.

If convicted of aggravated assault, Hess could face up to life in prison.

Attorney Russell Wilson, who is not associated with the case, said he doesn't see a problem with the length of deliberations so far.

The jury has not yet asked any questions or sent notes to the judge, so it's Wilson’s opinion they likely are not deadlocked.

Jurors will resume deliberations Thursday at 9 a.m.