Mistrial Declared In Teen's Murder Trial


UPDATED: Wednesday March 25, 2009 12:26 PM

A mistrial was declared Thursday in the trial of Derris Lewis, a teenager charged in connection with the death of his twin brother.

The mistrial was announced after a juror's sister-in-law passed away, and the juror told the judge that she could not concentrate on the case given her family situation, 10TV's Maureen Kocot reported.

"They're disappointed they didn't get to resolve this matter, but they understand," said Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Guy Reece. "Their thoughts are with their fellow jury member who lost a family member. Of course, they expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to serve as jurors."

SLIDESHOW:   Case Timeline

Under law, two alternate jurors were excused Wednesday when deliberations began because the case did not involve the death penalty.

The jurors cannot be recalled and defense attorneys told the judge they did not want to proceed with 11 jurors.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors were expected to meet next week to discuss a new trial date, Kocot reported.

Lewis, 19, was charged with aggravated murder and other charges in connection with the January 2008 shooting death of his brother, Dennis. The slaying occurred after a group of armed men made their way inside Lewis' mother's Loretta Avenue home and demanded money, 10TV News reported.

During the trial, prosecutors focused on a bloody palm print that was found at the scene of the slaying.  Investigators said it was matched to Derris Lewis and forwarded the notion that he killed his brother over money.

The defense downplayed the relevance of the prints and called witnesses who testified that Derris Lewis was not at the home when the shooting occurred.

Derris Lewis was ordered to remain in jail after the mistrial was declared.  His bond would not be reduced, Kocot reported.

Kimberly Carter, Derris Lewis' cousin, said the Lewis family was frustrated with the ruling to keep Derris in custody.

"He needs to come home," Carter said. "It's a mistrial (and) there's nothing he's done. He needs to be home."

Defense attorneys said they would begin preparations for a second trial.

"It's with heavy hearts that we have to redo this thing, but we will do it again," said attorney Adam Lee Nemann. "We will prepare a vigorous defense yet again."

Stay with 10TV News and 10TV.com for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

March 19, 2009:  Twin's Murder Case In Hands Of Jury
March 18, 2009: Man Refuses To Testify In Lewis Trial
March 13, 2009: Confrontational Videotape Played At Teen's Murder Trial
March 12, 2009:  Lead Detective Takes Stand In Twin's Murder Trial
March 11, 2009: Crime Scene, Autopsy Photos Shown In Teen's Murder Trial
March 11, 2009: Mother Defends Son Accused In Twin's Slaying
March 9, 2009: Trial Begins For Teen Accused In Twin Brother's Death
February 20, 2008: Warrant Reveals Evidence In Slaying
March 2, 2008:  Family Defends Twin Accused In Brother's Death
Feb. 14, 2008:  Twin Charged In Brother's Death
February 13, 2008: Twin Arrested, Charged With Brother's Slaying
January 24, 2008:  Family, Friends Bid Farewell To Slain Teenager
January 20, 2008:  Police:  Men Break Into Home, Killing Teen