Jurors in the trial of Charles Tan ’17, who faces charges for the murder of his father, told the judge they were unable to reach consensus Tuesday after a sixth day of deliberations.
Monroe County Court Judge James Piampiano responded by issuing the jury an “Allen charge,” an instruction for the jury to continue deliberations and a request for those in the minority to reconsider in the hopes of avoiding a hung jury. If the jury cannot eventually reach a unanimous decision, the judge will have to declare a mistrial and the case will be retried.
“Start with a flesh slate,” Piampiano wrote in the Allen charge. “Do not feel bound by how you felt before, whether you favored conviction or acquittal. Have the courage to be flexible.”
Tan was arrested last February after his father was discovered shot dead in their Pittsford, New York home, and subsequently charged with second degree murder. During his trial, Tan’s attorneys argued that his father had been abusive to both him and his mother, and that the prosecution failed to prove that Tan ever even held the murder weapon — a shotgun — according to The Democrat and Chronicle.
During their first six days of deliberations, jurors passed the judge nearly two dozen notes asking for additional information or to see evidence.
“We’ve seen in earnest how much they have sought to educate themselves during deliberations,” said Assistant District Attorney William Gargan, the prosecutor in the case.
While both sides have said they are hoping the jury can reach a verdict, both have vowed to continue on in the event of a mistrial. The jury will return to deliberationsWednesday, and will be kept late if they cannot reach consensus, according to The Democrat and Chronicle.
Prior to his arrest, Tan was a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.