He said the verdict “surprised” him.
“We thought we were in the running for an acquittal,” Courbois said.
Owen was facing two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.
District Judge Kenneth C. Watson asked jurors before their deliberations to consider first-degree manslaughter and third-degree arson as lesser-included counts if prosecutors failed to prove the other charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jurors deadlocked after five hours of deliberation, but Watson encouraged them to continue deliberating.
“I think it was definitely a compromise verdict,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance said. “Sometimes juries compromise when they have trouble reaching a verdict.”
The prosecutor said she believed the defendant's young age played a significant role in the verdict.
“Huge,” she said. “That's one of the reasons it took us four days to a get a jury.”
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