Hung Jury Declared in Austin Police Officer’s Murder Trial

Hung Jury Declared in Austin Police Officer’s Murder Trial
Christopher Taylor

On November 15, 2023, a Travis County judge declared a hung jury in the murder trial of Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor in the 167th Criminal District Court.

The trial began with jury selection on October 16, 2023, followed by testimony starting on October 23, 2023. After starting deliberations on November 8, 2023, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Consequently, on November 15, 2023, Judge Dayna Blazey declared a mistrial.

Christopher Taylor was indicted on March 10, 2021, for the murder of 42-year-old Michael Ramos, which occurred on April 24, 2020, in the parking lot of the Rosemont at Oak Valley apartments. The incident unfolded after a 911 call reported a couple in a gold Prius, with the man, later identified as Ramos, holding a gun. Officers responded to the scene, and a confrontation ensued.

During the trial, the jury viewed body camera and car camera footage depicting officers approaching Ramos, who was known for non-violent crimes. Officers testified that Ramos, at times compliant, appeared distracted and not consistently following commands. The prosecution argued that Ramos could have escaped through a wooded area, but officers believed he could be armed.

The situation escalated when Officer Mitchell Pieper fired a bean bag round at Ramos, who then returned to his vehicle. In the ensuing moments, Taylor shot Ramos three times with his department-issued rifle. The victim’s girlfriend, Rebeca Garcia, was in the passenger seat at the time.

Travis County District Attorney José Garza expressed gratitude to the jury for their service and respected their decision. This marks the second mistrial in this case, and prosecutors will now determine whether Christopher Taylor will face a retrial.