VERDICT: Hung jury means Jackson murder trial will start over


UPDATE: 6:30 P.M.

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A jury in Jackson County has found Daisha Cooper guilty, but not of first degree murder.

6 News has been keeping you updated on this story since the 28-year-old Jackson woman was charged with shooting and killing her boyfriend, Ben Johnson, last spring.

After a murder trial that lasted seven days, it looked like the case was coming to a close when the jury entered the courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

But the case had a final twist up its sleeve, and will be starting all over again.

Daisha Cooper was brought into the courtroom for what she thought was going to be the final word in her case.

Judge Thomas Wilson read the verdict.

“Count one: first degree premeditated murder, not guilty,” Wilson said.

Cooper showed signs of relief, followed by confusion, as she was found guilty of felony firearm, and the jury said it could not make a decision on the rest of her open murder charge.

“As I understand it, you were hung on count one, as far as second degree or the lesser included,” Wilson said.

Because the jury could not make a final decision on whether to convict her of second degree murder or reckless discharge of a firearm, this trial will have to start all over again.

Cooper’s defense attorneys say they’re thankful she was acquitted of first degree murder.

“We thought that was the proper decision. They were a very thoughtful jury. We had an opportunity to talk to them and they listened to us very carefully,” said George Lyons, a defense attorney for Cooper.

Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Jarzynka told 6 news that prosecutors are taking a close look at the case and will bring back murder charges against Cooper.

Her defense says, thankfully, the verdict means the mother of four children cannot be tried twice for first degree murder.

The attorneys also indicated that they’re ready to defend her for a second time.

“What this trial did was brought out more evidence that we may need to bring out further experts. And I think the second trial is going to be harder than the first trial,” said Jared Hopkins, a defense attorney for Cooper.

Cooper will be back in court in August to be sentenced on the felony firearm charge.

“She’s a very strong young lady. Look at what she’s been through. This must seem like a walk in the park next to that,” Lyons said.

There’s no word on when her new trial will begin.


UPDATE: The jury has found Daisha Cooper not guilty of first degree murder. The jury was not able to reach a decision on second degree murder and reckless discharge. She was convicted on a felony firearms charge in connection with the shooting.

6 News Jackson Bureau Aaron Dimick was in the courtroom and will have an update online and on 6 News.

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — There’s no question that Daisha Cooper shot and killed her boyfriend in Jackson last year, but now it’s in the hands of a jury to decide if it was murder.

After five days of testimony, the murder trial in Jackson County Court came to a climax when the murder suspect took the stand and shared her side of the story.

Cooper says on May 8, 2016 she was fed up with years of abuse from her boyfriend, Ben Johnson.

“I was tired of him attacking me, beating me, taking my money, taking control of my life, forcibly having sex with me. I didn’t want it. Putting his hands on my kids,” Cooper said.

The mother of four kids says she was up all night, drunk and high on cocaine, waiting for Johnson to come home.

When Cooper heard him pull into the driveway, she panicked.

“I was scared so I just grabbed it,” Cooper said.

Cooper says she took her boyfriend’s shotgun and ran toward him on the front steps of their home.

“I slipped down the stairs and gripped the gun as I slipped and it went off,” Cooper said.

The 28-year-old claims she didn’t know the gun was loaded and was shocked to see blood.

“I grabbed him and started screaming for help and telling him to just stay with me,” Cooper said.

Making their closing argument, the prosecution told the jury not to believe Cooper’s story.

“Those facts don’t add up,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jake Dickerson.

Dickerson argued there’s no solid evidence to back up Cooper’s claims of abuse.

He also said her story has changed multiple times, and they all conflict with an eyewitness who says this was no accident.

“She called 24 times for this man to come home. She threw his clothes onto the front porch and covered them in bleach. And then when he came home, she shot him,” Dickerson said.

Cooper’s defense stands by her story and says she was a woman living at the mercy of her abusive boyfriend.

“She’s suffered enough. She’s not guilty of anything other than a poor choice in relationships and an inability to extricate herself from an impossible set of circumstances. She is not guilty,” said George Lyons, a defense attorney for Cooper.

The jury will begin deliberations Monday at 9 a.m.

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