DeKalb County Judge Latisha Dear Jackson, talks with the lawyers about a jury note during the trial of Robert “Chip” Olsen at the DeKalb County Courthouse October 7, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Deadlocked: Olsen jury can’t agree on some charges against DeKalb cop

Jurors in the murder trial of of Robert “Chip” Olsen said Monday they are deadlocked on some of the criminal counts against the former DeKalb County police officer. 

“We have found unanimity on some of the charges but not others,” the jury wrote in a note read aloud in the courtroom by Judge LaTisha Dear Jackson. 

“We see no possibility in reconciling the others. Please advise.”

Olsen is charged with shooting and killing Anthony Hill, an unarmed Afghanistan war veteran  who had stripped naked on March 9, 2015. Hill had stopped taking medication he used  to treat bipolar disorder.  

Robert “Chip” Olsen leaves the courtroom after listening to a GBI interview requested by the jurors in his murder trial on October 7, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer

It’s unknown which charges the jury has agreed upon, although a question asked earlier Monday suggested they’ve reached a decision on Count 4, violation of oath of office.  

Dear Jackson, noting they’ve only been deliberating for a day-and-a-half, ordered the jury to resume their discussions Tuesday. Since receiving the case Friday morning, the 7-woman, 5-man panel has deliberated about 10 hours. 

That’s nothing when compared to some other recent, high-profile murder trials. 

The jury in the trial of Claud “Tex”McIver, charged with shooting his wife in the back as they drove through Atlanta, took 27 hours to reach a guilty verdict. And deliberations went on for 4 days in the Justin Ross Harris, “hot car death” trial.  He was also convicted.

>>  LISTEN: ‘Breakdown’ podcast offers an in-depth look at case

>>  CLOSING ARGUMENTS: Self-defense or excessive force?

>>  PHOTOS: Week 2 of the Olsen trial 

>>  PHOTOS: Week 1 of the Olsen trial

It’s likely the Olsen jury is hung up on at least one of the two felony murder counts. They asked Dear Jackson if they find Olsen guilty on Count 4, do they have to find him guilty on Count 2 (felony murder)? Jackson informed them they do not. 

Count 4 is the underlying felony to Count 2. In Georgia, if you commit a felony and it leads to the death of another, you can be charged with murder whether the death was intended or not. 

Jurors also re-watched Olsen’s interview with GBI investigators, recorded one week after he shot Hill. 

Anthony Hill was honorably discharged from the Air Force after serving in Afghanistan, and diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

As he has through much of the trial, Olsen, 57, sat motionless, staring straight ahead as the interview was played.

During the viewing of the 47-minute video, two jurors nodded in agreement as Olsen discussed driving his squad car into the parking lot of the Heights at Chamblee Apartments complex and seeing Hill crouched.

Olsen was the first to respond to a 911 call reporting a naked man wandering the apartment complex in the middle of the day. He said he shot Hill in self-defense after the 26-year-old charged toward him, ignoring repeated commands to stop. 

Olsen faces a sentence of life in prison if convicted of just one of the two felony murder counts. 

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