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Mistrial Declaired In Lewis Muder Trial
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The teen on trial for murdering his twin brother last year will have to wait in jail while another jury is chosen for the case. Judge Guy Reece declared a mistrial Thursday after a juror reported a death in the family.
Jurors showed up at the Franklin County Courthouse ready to get back to the task at hand – deciding whether Dennis Lewis is guilty of murdering his twin brother, Dennis, during a robbery at their mother’s house last January. But Juror Number Six informed the court her sister-in-law died after a long illness.
“I feel I can’t concentrate on the business at hand here with our situation at home,” she said.
After more than a week of testimony and a day of deliberations Judge Reece was hesitant to excuse her.
“I guess I’m trying to push it a little bit to see if it at all possible would you be able to maybe compose yourself and be able to proceed next week if we gave you time? I just don’t know. You don’t know? That’s something you’d have to decide then? Yes. Ok.”
Judge Reece already had excused the two alternate jurors which is standard procedure when a trial is not a capital case. The alternates can not be called back to serve on the jury.
Deliberations could proceed with only eleven jurors, but the defense opted to request a mistrial. And the prosecution did not object.
“Well that would have been basically waiving his right to a jury of twelve of your peers, and that’s a constitutional right that he has. And I believe that would have been malpractice for me to allow that to occur,” Defense attorney Adam Nemann said. Lewis already has served 13 months behind bars. Nemann argued it could be another year before a new trial could begin. And he requested Lewis’s bond, which is $750,000, be lowered. Nemann even suggested Lewis could be under house arrest.
“We don’t feel he’s a flight risk. We don’t feel he’s a danger to the community because we feel he’s innocent,” Nemann argued.
The prosecution objected to that request. And Judge Reece denied lowering the bond. Lewis’s cousin Kimberly Carter said she was “dumbfounded” at the mistrial announcement.
“I’m at a loss for words at this point. To the fact, well, it’s a mistrial, he needs to come home,” Carter said.
The new trial date is unknown.