Murder trial ends in mistrial after reference to prior case
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A judge has declared a mistrial in a homicide trial after a witness referred to the defendant’s acquittal in an earlier homicide case.
LNP newspaper reports that Tuesday’s ruling came after a former prison inmate testified he felt intimidated because he said 43-year-old Wilberto Melendez said he got out of a homicide case.
Melendez was on trial in the October 2017 slaying of William Cooper Jr., who was found shot on a Lancaster street. But jurors weren’t supposed to know he was acquitted in 2016 in the November 2014 death of 32-year-old Jeremy Torres outside an after-hours party.
Attorneys said they hope for a November retrial. Defense attorney Jack McMahon said he had been “comfortable with” the direction of the trial and his client had been expected to testify Wednesday.
Information from: LNP, http://lancasteronline.com