Jurors in the murder case against Felicia Jones have deadlocked after two days of negotiations, telling Judge Ronna Beck that they were “hopelessly” unable to find Jones either guilty or innocent in the stabbing death of Jodie Ward.
The deadlock prompted Beck to declare the case a mistrial this afternoon.
The jurors’ announcement came shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday. They told Beck that they deadlocked with eight jurors in favor of finding Jones guilty of second-degree murder. The jury also deadlocked on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter while armed, with nine voting guilty.
Beck set a new trial date for March 25, should prosecutors decide to retry Jones.
Jones, taking the stand in her defense Monday, testified she was smoking PCP with Ward in her home the night Ward died. She said she prepared chips and dip and put on a Lil’ Wayne CD for them to listen to. Ward went upstairs to clean himself up after he accidentally sat on the snacks, she said.
That was when Jones heard a loud noise as she was washing dishes. Ward came downstairs and grabbed Jones, dragging her upstairs, she said.
Jones testified that she had grabbed two kitchen knives for protection when she realized that Ward was acting erratically. Then Ward dragged her upstairs into her daughter’s playroom where the two of them fell onto the floor. The knives were dropped during the scuffle, Jones testified, but when Ward reached for one of the knives, Jones picked one up, stabbed him in the ear, and then ran downstairs to call police.
Ward was “a ticking time bomb waiting to go off,” Jones’ attorney, Janet Mitchell, argued. Ward was “a crazy man in her house,” Mitchell said.
Tests showed Ward was dehydrated, consistent with a PCP rage, Mitchell argued.
Dr. Joseph Pestaner, deputy medical examiner at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, testified that the .33 millgrams per liter of PCP found in Ward’s body was considered a lethal dose. Ward might have survived the stabbing had he been sober, in good health and sought medical treatment promptly, Pestaner said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman argued Jones didn’t mention the PCP-attack when officers questioned her later that night. Video tape of Jones talking for about 45 minutes about the case while held in a police interrogation room shows her appearing dazed and speaking passively of the incident, Liebman said.
Mitchell argued Jones was high on PCP at the time, which Jones testified made her feel relaxed and dazed.
Jones didn’t have any injuries and didn’t seek medical treatment that night, Liebman said. He argued that some scratches to Ward’s hands could be consistent with him defending himself against Jones.
Liebman said Jones was angry with Ward for destroying her belongings and attacked him.
Instead of calling law enforcement, Liebman said, she decided “to take care of things herself.”
A status hearing has been scheduled for March 1.
Sam Pearson contributed reporting.