Inside the deliberations of the Osburn murder trial

- A Saudi college student was killed on the streets of Menomonie, Wisconsin in October 2016—it’s a case that has generated headlines across the globe. 

After deliberating for six hours, a Wisconsin jury reached a verdict in the trial of the Minneapolis man, Cullen Osburn, involved in the deadly assault claiming the life of Hussain Alnahdi, a University of Wisconsin-Stout college student from Saudi Arabia. 

In April, Osburn was acquitted of the most serious charge he faced—felony murder. He was found guilty of aggravated battery.

After a weeklong trial in Dunn County, Wis., some of the jurors were convinced Osburn was guilty. Others were not. 

According to the jury foreman Ben Briskie, a few of the jurors on the panel of 12 initially wanted to acquit the Minneapolis man on all counts, including the lesser charge of aggravated battery in the death of Alnahdi. 

“It would’ve went to a hung jury because I never would have backed down to a not guilty plea,” Briskie said. 

After deliberating for several hours, Briskie and the other jurors were able to compromise. The jurors eventually agreed Osburn was guilty of something in the deadly altercation outside a downtown Menomonie pizza joint. 

Some jurors were shaken as the verdict was read. One said the deliberations were harder than the trial itself. 

During the trial, prosecutors argued Osburn was angry and itching for a fight that Halloween weekend. They said Alnahdi was extremely drunk, stumbled out of a bar earlier in the evening and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

A knockout blow left Alnahdi with a cracked skull. He passed away approximately 36 hours later. 

The defense countered that the death report showed “no anatomical findings to indicate that Alnahdi had been in a fight… no facial injuries noted.” 

They said there might have been a confrontation with some pushing and shoving, but it was Alnahdi and his friend who were the aggressors. During his closing argument, Osburn’s attorney also raised the idea that careless medical attention at the hospital may have ultimately cost Alnahdi his life. 

All of the jurors agreed that Osburn threw a punch. They disagreed about whether or not the punch ultimately killed Alnahdi. 

Osburn will be sentenced in July. District Attorney Andrea Nodolf estimates that Osburn will spend somewhere between three and seven years in prison for the aggravated battery count. If the jury had found him guilty of felony murder, he faced a maximum of 24 years in prison. 

To hear more about what several jurors said about deliberations and what it took to come to a compromise, watch the video above. 
 

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