Murder jury mistrial results in 7 year plea
Police respond to a shooting at a now-defunct hotel near a high drug crime area in Austin, Texas. When they arrive and find the decedent, an on-scene witness who is personally acquainted with client identifies him as shooter. Client is arrested a few days later in another state with his baby-momma and his girlfriend, all of whom are camped out together in one hotel room.
The trial revealed many parts to the whole sordid tale. The on-scene witness is a homeless drug dealer/user, and was very shaky as a witness and not particularly reliable. Facts she adamantly claimed were true contradicted important physical evidence and the testimony of client's baby-momma. Baby-momma was released from a psychiatric/drug rehab facility the very day she testified, and although her testimony was coherent it contradicted the on-scene witness in important ways. The witnesses' story was that client is a pimp, he may have wanted the on-scene witness to recruit girls for him to "manage," and he likely shot the decedent accidentally. Client's girlfriend, a prostitute herself, did not make herself available to testify at the trial.
Client has been to prison multiple times so any conviction would automatically require a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
With both witnesses, the State was not certain they would actually show up and testify in this trial, or whether they would show up if the case was ever re-tried.
Jury simply did not have strong faith in either of the state's drug-addicted, mentally-ill likely-prostitute witnesses, and they were unable to come to a decision. After the judge declared a mistrial, we approached the State with an offer to settle the case. With a minimum potential sentence for murder of 5 years' imprisonment, the DA agreed to a 7 year plea deal. Great outcome for client who was facing 25 to life, and for the state who could never guarantee to decedent's family that they would fare any better at a future trial.
Practice area(s): Criminal Defense
Court: 450th District Court