Jury Deadlocks in Donte Graves Murder Trial

Judge Russell Canan declared a mistrial in the case against Donte Graves after jurors announced they were unable to reach a verdict.

Ten jurors reported that they were prepared to acquit Graves of second-degree murder while armed, assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery. Of the remaining two jurors, one disagreed and another was dismissed from the case.

I know it is frustrating to be in this position, but your service is helpful to the judicial process,” Canan told jurors.

Graves is accused of fatally shooting Tyrone Joyner.

Police found Joyner near Nationals Park in Southwest D.C. on Feb. 24, 2013, with a single gunshot wound to his stomach.

Prosecutors argued that a witness, Marcus McLean, identified Graves as the shooter, proving his guilt.

Graves’ defense attorney, Janet Mitchell, said in trial that police and prosecutors overlooked the possibility of another shooter.

Mitchell contended that McLean, who had described the scene of the shooting, could have accidentally shot Joyner.

Maybe he drops it,” Mitchell said earlier in the trial, noting broken gun pieces recovered from the scene. “Marcus McLean is playing around with it and he shoots his friend.”

During the trial, McLean admitted to lying to investigators and to a grand jury.

Jurors deliberated for four days before announcing the deadlock. In that time, they sent three notes expressing their inability to reach a unanimous verdict.

A status hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on April 25.

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