Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grand Jury Gets Until January to Decide on Michael Brown Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 9:15 AM

click to enlarge Michael Brown Sr., Lesley McSpadden and Pastor Carlton Lee in front of the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton Saturday. - JESSICA LUSSENHOP
  • Jessica Lussenhop
  • Michael Brown Sr., Lesley McSpadden and Pastor Carlton Lee in front of the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton Saturday.

A judge has granted an extension for the grand jury in charge of deciding whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will be acquitted or charged with a crime.

The twelve jurors now have until January 7 to indict Wilson for shooting and killing unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9 or to let him go, St. Louis County Judge Carolyn Whittington ruled.

Anthony Gray, an attorney for the Brown family, said he was "flabbergasted" when Daily RFT called and told him about the grand jury delay Monday night. He added that the trial depends on St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who has been heavily criticized by black leaders for his handling of the case, to present "sufficient evidence."

"If they do not present sufficient evidence to indict, the grand jury won't indict," Gray tells Daily RFT.

With the violence, looting and chaos on West Florissant Road in Ferguson last month fresh on many people's minds, there are fears that an acquittal will reignite explosive racial tensions. But until the grand jury decides, there's little to do but wait.

"If it takes that long to marshal out all the evidence they feel will be sufficient, we have to honor that timetable," Gray tells Daily RFT.

See more Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and Ferguson.

The jury can still make its decision before January, Court Administrator Paul Fox told media Monday. Ed Magee, spokesman for the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office, told Daily RFT that predictions of reaching a verdict in October are optimistic.

click to enlarge Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. - UPI/BILL GREENBLATT
  • UPI/Bill Greenblatt
  • Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch.

The grand jury's four-month term technically ended last Wednesday, though Missouri law allows it to meet for two more months. The judge's extension grants 60 days on top of the six months.

See also: No End in Sight for Darren Wilson Case as Grand Jury Term Officially Ends Wednesday

McCulloch's approach to the grand jury for Wilson has been unusual. Rather than name a charge for the jury to decide on, the prosecutor's office is allowing the grand jury to consider all the photos, videos, testimonies, ballistics and other evidence as it gets them. Then the jury will decide whether or not to file charges.

The only other grand jury in recent history to convene for this long was in 2000, when two undercover officers shot and killed two suspects in a north-county Jack in the Box. The grand jury did not indict the officers in the case that stirred public outcry and racial tensions like the Brown shooting.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation