Mistrial declared in murder trial; defense attorney says jury was tainted
SALT LAKE CITY — What was supposed to be a five-day murder trial stalled Tuesday afternoon after a judge declared a mistrial.
Court records show 3rd District Judge Dennis Fuchs' determination came in the case of Francisco Alverez, 56, after defense attorneys moved for a mistrial.
Alverez's attorney, Robert Engar, said he couldn't go into detail about what happened, but the concern was about the integrity of the jury.
"Something happened that tainted the jury," he explained. "We had to move for a mistrial and the judge granted it. Now, we're going to set another trial date."
A scheduling conference has been set for Nov. 5.
"You generally don't want a case to mistry," Engar said. "We were prepared, (prosecutors) were prepared, they want to get it done. (But), sometimes, these things happen and that's all you can do."
Tuesday was the second day in the trial of Alverez, who was charged with murder, a first-degree felony; possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a second-degree felony; and felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony, in connection with a May 2011 shooting that left Jorge Veracruz, 29, dead.
It is believed Veracruz and Alverez were arguing when Alverez pulled out a gun and shot Veracruz three times.
The incident drew attention because it took place in broad daylight in a park where numerous baseball games were taking place.
A Little League baseball coach, Brandon Schroeder, testified at a previous hearing that he heard the gunshots and took off running, as directed by bystanders and witnesses, after a man on a bike.
He said that the man on the bike was trying to dispose of the gun and that when he fell from the bike trying to do so, Schroeder tackled him.
Alverez later told police Veracruz was trying to rob him.
- Circleville farmers scratching their heads...
- Kennecott hopes project will change mountain...
- Woman who drank toxic tea credits God, family...
- Many questions remain in case of baby found...
- Son of murdered woman felt peace in '91, now...
- Solar energy users claim victory as 'sun tax'...
- Police reviewing possible nightclub photos of...
- Missionary, police testify against man...
- Court allows Utah more time to file gay... 46
- Attorney general deciding whether to... 40
- Running again? Mitt Romney tells Hugh... 36
- Newborn found in trash can brings call... 34
- Audit reveals major concerns about UTA... 30
- Woman accused of leaving young son... 22
- Parents say daughter didn't understand... 22
- Gay rights activists to fight charges... 20