Hung jury in trial against San Miguel man accused of killing wife

The trial against a San Miguel man accused of killing his wife has ended with a hung jury.

Jurors voted 9-3 that John Norris was not guilty in the shooting death, according to the county District Attorney’s Office.

Norris, 25, had pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter of his wife, Tasha Dawn Norris, and possession of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle with allegedly illegal features — including a flash suppressor.

The jury was also deadlocked on the weapon possession charge; the vote was 9-3 not guilty.

Closing arguments in the case wrapped up on Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

While this ends the trial, it might not end the case against John Norris.

A hung jury is one that could not reach a unanimous verdict despite continuing deliberations. But because the vote was not unanimous, prosecutors could seek a new trial.

Norris’ defense attorney said that while his client may have made a mistake in judgment, no crime was committed, and that in an ideal world, accidents never would happen.

Prosecutor Matt Kerrigan said that Norris acknowledged in a police interview that he should have unloaded the magazine of the Taurus 1911 handgun as he handled the gun in the couple’s San Miguel living room a year ago.

Norris told police that he didn’t think the magazine was in the gun, but he checked the chamber and didn't see a live round, before he got up and tripped over a dog.

The gun fired and struck Tasha Norris, fatally wounding her, Norris said.