Jurors in Rayquan Borum murder trial looking for answers about legal standard for participating in riot

Jury deliberates in Rayquan Borum trial

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With less than an hour before the first full day of deliberations ended, jurors in the Rayquan Borum murder trial had a question for the judge.

“The question reads is ‘there a legal criteria for engaging in a riot or are you inherently engaged by virtue of being there?’” Judge Gregory Hayes read from a note the jury sent him.

Borum is on trial for first degree murder and possession of firearm by felon for shooting 26-year-old Justin Carr during the Charlotte riots in 2016.

Prosecutors say Borum was aiming for police, who were trying to move the crowd back from the Omni Hotel, but the bullet hit Carr.

In the first murder charge prosecutors had to prove malice, premeditation and deliberation. If jurors don’t see that those were proved beyond a reasonable doubt, they can then consider felony murder as an element of first degree murder.

Earlier this week in court – outside the presence of the jury - there was a heated argument between prosecutors and defense about jurors hearing felony murder as an element. The defense said Rayquan Borum was not committing another crime before he allegedly shot Carr.

Prosecutors say the riot was one continuous crime. To show that, they had to prove that there was a riot, that Borum participated when he broke into a bar and looted it, and incited violence against police, and that he had a gun.

Thursday afternoon during deliberations jurors wanted to know what is the legal criteria for engaging a riot.

The judge told them “the state must prove the defendant willfully engaged in riot and willfully is intentionally and without justification or excuse.”

If jurors don’t believe prosecutors proved any of the elements of first degree murder, then they can consider the lesser charge of second degree murder. If they think it’s neither first nor second – they can come back with not guilty.

The jury is also deciding a charge of possession of firearm by felon. He’s either guilty of that or not guilty.

Deliberations started Wednesday afternoon – and jurors have been discussing the case with each other for about nine hours over the last day and a half.

Deliberations resume Friday morning.

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