Walter Zimbeck, II, 45, of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., was charged with murder and aggravated murder in the death of Lori Ann Hill, 14, but after the defense rested on Tuesday, visiting Judge Sumner Walters had dismissed the more serious charge of aggravated murder against Mr. Zimbeck.
The seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated for about an hour Tuesday evening then returned at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to resume deliberations. About 12:30 p.m., the jury sent a question to the court asking what happens if all 12 of them could not agree. Judge Walters brought them into the courtroom, gave them additional instructions, and asked whether there was a possibility they could reach a verdict.
Jurors returned to the jury room and sent an answer a few minutes later, saying yes, they would continue to deliberate.
Prosecutors had painted Mr. Zimbeck as a jealous, possessive, and controlling ex-boyfriend of Miss Hill’s who was distraught over their recent break-up. The defense contended the state lacked the evidence to tie Mr. Zimbeck to the crime.
If convicted of murder, Mr. Zimbeck faces 15 years to life in prison.