For the second time in less than a year, a Jacksonville jury was unable to come to an agreement as to whether Andrew King was guilty of killing his girlfriend's pregnant roommate. A Duval County jury deliberated for a full day last week and then reported back to the judge that it was hopelessly deadlocked and would be unable to reach a consensus on a verdict, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The judge was then forced to declare a mistrial, meaning King will likely be tried for a third time on the first-degree murder charge. A separate jury was also hung in June, when King's was the first murder trial in the new Duval County Courthouse, the newspaper reported.
King is accused of coming in through the backdoor of his girlfriend's house and stabbing Felicia Burney as she slept on the couch, the newspaper reported. Burney's baby was due any day, but died from lack of oxygen after Burney was killed. Prosecutors said King was mad because he was kicked out of the house to make room for Burney and the baby, while Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys argued King had no motivation to kill Burney and questioned how Burney and her 2-year-old slept through the alleged stabbing just 15 feet from their bedroom.
In Jacksonville Criminal Defense cases, a jury must come to a unanimous decision when it comes to reaching a verdict. The juries are different sizes, depending on the type of crime the defendant is charged with. In first-degree murder cases, there are 12 jurors on the panel. There is generally plenty of back and forth inside a jury room, especially when the case isn't completely cut and dried, but in most cases, jurors are able to reach a consensus. But all it takes is one juror to refuse to agree and the jury can end up being hung.
And once a mistrial is declared in any Duval Conunty criminal case, the whole trial must start over from scratch. King's trial lasted four days this time around and would likely do the same the third time. In some cases, a mistrial opens the door for the two sides to negotiate to work out a plea agreement and avoid a second - in this case, a third - trial. To do so in this Jacksonville Criminal Defense case, it would likely mean the state coming off of the first-degree murder charge, which is probably unlikely. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence. From King's perspective, if the state isn't offering anything less than life, he might as well continue to take his chances at trial.
Everyone charged with a crime in a Jacksonville Criminal Defense case must weigh the options of trying to negotiate an agreement or pushing the case to trial. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney has represented thousands of clients in Clay County, Duval County, Nassau County and St. Johns County and can lay out all of your options to help you make an informed decision that is best for you and your family.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.