AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – A mistrial has been declared in the Markale Hart murder trial.
On Wednesday morning, judge Christopher Hughes ordered his courtroom to be cleared only with the defense and prosecution present. After calling the public back in the judge announced a mistrial due to the jury not being able to come to a verdict after 4 days of deliberations.
However, the defense sees things differently on why this trial was called. "I think its clear to us that the deliberations ended due to juror misconduct. I'll say that one of the jurors made some statements in front of other jurors this morning that was improper," Defense attorney Jerry Blevins says.
The defense claiming a juror doing research on the case outside the courtroom is the cause of a mistrial.
Both sides were hoping for a verdict after years of waiting for this trial to begin.
"We've waited three years for this day to come and to wind up in a mistrial is discouraging, but we won't be deterred we will try him again," says Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes.
Markale Hart is accused of shooting and killing Auburn football player Jakell Mitchell at Tiger Lodge Apartments in 2014.
The defense claimed self-defense and says they will continue to push the message even clearer next time around, "we will certainly go back and fine tune things so that the next 12 jurors will be clear on those issues," Blevins says.
Hart requested bond Wednesday, but that was denied by Judge Hughes. However, the defense can file a written motion for possible reconsideration.
There's no verdict this time, but the Lee County District Attorney is hopeful things are different in the next trial. "
We're just going to represent the evidence, select the jury and hopefully have a better outcome next time," says Hughes.
Jurors did not want to comment following the mistrial. This trial is expected to be on the February docket.