Jury finds Renfro guilty

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COEUR d’ALENE — After deliberating for little more than four hours, a jury found Jonathan D. Renfro guilty of murder Friday in Coeur d’Alene.

The 12-member panel delivered its verdict at 10:30 a.m., after earlier notifying bailiffs of having reached a decision. The discrepancy allowed attorneys and the defendant to be present when the verdict was delivered.

Jurors found Renfro, 29, guilty of first-degree murder in the May 5, 2015 shooting death of Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore. The panel also found Renfro guilty of robbery, concealing evidence and taking a firearm from police, all felonies.

Renfro, who appeared in court in his customary attire of a suit jacket and button-up shirt, showed little emotion when the verdict was read.

The audience, including a contingent of law enforcement, lawyers and a smattering of family members, also sat quietly in the courtroom with the high ceilings and tall windows on the top story of the old Kootenai County Courthouse.

First District Judge Lansing Haynes had warned audience members against outbursts or shows of emotion.

“I want no emotional reaction to the verdict,” Haynes said. “(The jury) must be free to render the verdict without being burdened by anyone in court.”

Members of the jury retired after the verdict was delivered and bailiffs began clearing the room and hallway outside of Courtroom 1.

Although he still faces the death penalty, Renfro could be sentenced to an additional 25 years for taking Moore’s handgun if capital punishment comes off the table. Concealing evidence and robbery each carries a five-year sentence.

The state requires a life sentence for a first-degree murder conviction if jurors find imposing the death penalty is unjust. State law also mandates a minimum prison term of 10 years, which means a convicted murderer must spend at least a decade behind bars before being considered for parole.

Jurors will make that decision during the trial’s next phase, which begins Monday.

After delivering Friday’s verdict, the jury — including three alternates — which was sequestered overnight after failing to render a verdict Thursday, was free to go home for the weekend. Jurors will reconvene at 9 a.m. Monday.

A gag order covering members of law enforcement and attorneys will remain in place until after the case is adjudicated, according to the prosecutor’s office.

In next week’s proceedings, prosecutors will attempt to prove statutory aggravating circumstances.

A statutory aggravated circumstance is anything that increases the severity of the criminal act, including a lack of remorse or continued criminal behavior that shows a propensity for killing.

Haynes said earlier this week he would only admit evidence that showed Renfro had a violent nature and would not allow evidence of Renfro defying jail or prison rules.

“I’m allowing relevant and material evidence that shows a propensity to commit murder,” Haynes said. “I am not allowing ... attempts to escape, discussions of escaping unless it (shows) a direct threat to corrections officers.”

Prosecutors have already submitted reports of 22 incidents dating back more than a decade. Haynes said he would allow in next week’s proceedings evidence of an alleged threat by Renfro to kill a cellmate, and evidence of an escape plan that required injuring or holding jailers hostage.

If propensity is established, jurors would determine if Renfro should receive the death penalty.

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