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Mistrial Declared in NY Beating

April 8, 1998

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ After eight days of contentious jury deliberations, a judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of a white man accused of clubbing a black man nearly to death.

Austin Offen, 27, was charged with attempted murder, accused of crushing 23-year-old Shane Daniels’ skull with a steel bar during a 1996 brawl outside a Long Island nightclub.

It is unclear what started the fight. Racial epithets were shouted during the episode, but no civil rights charges were brought.

Judge Joel Lefkowitz declared a mistrial after the jury reported that it was hopelessly deadlocked. One juror told the judge: ``I feel that we are just about ready to go at each other’s throats.″

Offen could get up to 25 years in prison.

Daniels was in a coma for weeks after the beating and suffered broken bones in his skull and hands.

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