Jury declares mistrial in incest case
by Shaka S. Lias
Dec 21, 2010 | 3373 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After deliberating all day Monday, the jury in the Jonathan Bacchus case could not reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial.

"It's a hard case and I understand some of the difficulties you all had," Judge Shepherd Howell told them.

Bacchus was on trial for allegedly molesting three blood relatives. He was charged with numerous counts, including incest, child molestation, cruelty to children and rape.

After closing arguments Friday, the jury deliberated for a little over an hour before agreeing to continue Monday morning at 9 a.m.

The jury addressed the judge shortly before noon asking him to explain reasonable doubt again.

Judge Howell inquired how close they were to coming to a conclusion. The forewoman said they had three votes since 9 a.m. and there had been "very little movement."

"We are not consistent across the board," she said.

She said some would vote guilty and, when they voted again, the same person would vote not guilty.

After an afternoon break, Howell spoke to the jury with instructions to address their difference of opinions.

"Reach a verdict on all or some counts," Howell said giving them until 4:30 p.m..

At exactly 4:30 p.m. the jury stood in front of Howell still without a verdict. He asked the forewoman if they had a verdict in any of the counts to which she replied they didn't.

Howell said they were given "a considerable period of time" before declaring a mistrial.

Anton Rowe, attorney for Bacchus, said a just verdict would have been one of not guilty of all charges.

"My client is innocent of all these charges, and he will maintain his innocence," Rowe said.

Howell told the jury he appreciates the consideration of them trying to reach a verdict.

He reminded Bacchus that the same bond conditions still apply and that the case is subject to be called for the February trial calendar.

Rowe said he doesn't know if the state plans to retry the case. "I just don't think it's justice if the state tries this case again. I think that the fact that this jury was hung 8 to 4 is an indication that the state doesn't have any evidence to go forward against my client."