With one juror refusing to convict, the jury in the Ray Christie trial came back deadlocked today on all four felony counts of animal cruelty and 10 misdemeanor counts of dumping cattle carcasses within 150 feet of state waters.
The jury found Christie not guilty of three counts of dumping carcasses and convicted him on 25 counts.
Just yesterday, Judge Christopher Wilson discharged a juror who had declared from the outset that she thought Christie was innocent, then refused to deliberate. At that point jurors had deliberated for six days and had to start all over again with an alternate who replaced the non-participating juror.
It turns out another juror — not the new one — also declined to vote for conviction.
“She didn’t feel like there was enough evidence,” the jury foreman, who asked not to be named, said outside the courtroom.
During the trial, jurors heard testimony from numerous officers who participated in the March 2018 raid on several of Christie’s properties throughout the county. Jurors saw seemingly endless photographs of cattle carcasses, some lying in sloughs or near sloughs, some on the banks of the Mad River.
One of the more-disturbing displays was of two nearly dead, emaciated cows who apparently were in the final stages of starvation. A state veterinarian testified that up to 90 percent of the herd on that property were “very thin to dying.”
The defense called two witnesses. One showed drone footage of some of Christie’s properties, where the carcasses had been cleaned up. The other witness was Brandon Horn, Christie’s ranch hand, who testified that cattle found in poor condition at Christie’s Arcata ranch must have been dropped off by an unknown truck driver in the middle of the night.
Afterward, the jury foreman said the jury was pretty much unanimous in doubting Horn’s testimony.
“I don’t think anybody saw him as a credible witness,” he said, “but there were still portions of his testimony that were helpful during deliberations.”
As to the three “not guilty” verdicts of carcass-dumping, the foreman said photographs of those carcasses depicted “one or two bones.”
“It was not beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
Judge Wilson declared a mistrial on the counts with no verdict. It will be up to the District Attorney’s Office whether to retry Christie on those counts, considering the jury was just one person shy of conviction.
Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, who prosecuted the case along with Deputy District Attorney David Moutrie, was in a meeting after the verdict and could not be reached for comment.
Christie and attorney Ken Bareilles left the courthouse shortly after the verdict came in. Christie did not react when the verdicts were read, other than to occasionally glance at the jury after another “guilty” on the misdemeanors was announced.
The jury foreman said he’s learned a lot about the criminal justice system over the past few weeks.
“I’m thankful that all of the jurors tried, to the best of their ability, to come to an agreement,” he said.
- ‘Nothing But a Show’ Rancher Ray Christie’s Attorney Says After Jury Shown Images of Numerous Dead or Dying Cows
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: Defense Attorney Attacks Investigating Deputy’s Credibility
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: Prosecutors Allege Rancher Illegally Removed Tags From Cattle to Pass Them Off as ‘Organic’
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: While Witnesses Testify to Stacks and Stacks of Carcasses Found, Defense Wonders Whether Cattle May Have Been Killed by Wild Animals or Poisonous Plants
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: Wildlife Warden Testifies to Carcasses Floating in Sloughs as Defense Gets Ready to Make its Case
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: After Showing Jurors Some Drone Footage, the Defense Rests its Case
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: Prosecution Rests; Ranch Hand Testifies He Was Ordered to Remove Cow Eartags
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: In Closing Arguments, Prosecutor Implores Jury to Hold Defendant Accountable for ‘Grossly Inadequate’ Management of Ranches
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: After the Defense’s Two-Hour Closing Argument, the Case is in the Hands of the Jury
- Juror Replaced in Christie Trial; Deliberation to Continue Into Next Week
- CHRISTIE TRIAL: Misconduct or Mistrial? One Juror Refuses to Deliberate or Follow the Law, Other Members Tell Judge; Unknown Whether a Mistrial Will be Declared or Possible Rogue Juror Replaced