The next move in the weapons case against syndicated columnist Carl T. Rowan is up to prosecutors after a jury was unable to decide if he should be convicted for using an unregistered handgun to shoot a teenage intruder in his back yard.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Arthur L. Burnett Sr. declared a mistrial in the case Thursday after the 12-member panel had spent more than seven fruitless hours over two days in search of a verdict.Prosecutors now must decide whether to conduct another trial before a new jury. Claude Bailey, a spokesman for the city's top attorney, said no decision had been made yet on that question.

One juror who declined to be identified said the panel's last vote was 9-3 in favor of acquittal. A unanimous verdict was required.

Jury foreman William C. Bartee, 66, said he saw "barrels of reasonable doubt" and that "before I would have given over to the (pro-conviction) side, I would have waded through hell barefoot from now until Christmas."