A mistrial was declared Saturday when jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a man accused of killing a Chester, S.C., city councilman.
Christopher Moore, 19, is charged with murder in Odell Williams’ shooting death in 2014. Moore will return to jail to wait for a new trial.
Williams also was a former police officer.
A jury was selected Monday and started deliberating about noon Friday.
Jurors told the judge Saturday morning they were unable to reach the same verdict. Judge Paul Burch brought the jury into court Saturday afternoon.
“It is normal for jurors to disagree first,” Burch told the jury. “But the fact that we normally get a verdict also means that after reasonable persons lay aside all extraneous matters and determine to decide a case on the basis of the law and the evidence. They do come to a common understanding and write a verdict.”
He also said a verdict must be reached without any juror doing violence to his or her conscience. Instead, the jury came back deadlocked. The case will be retried.
“No juror is expected to give up an opinion based on reasoning satisfactory to himself or herself merely for the purpose of being in agreement,” Burch said.
Investigators said evidence points to Moore firing more than a dozen shots at Williams. Moore claimed he was shooting in self-defense.
Moore testified that he and four friends were armed and had planned to rob someone at a house near Williams’ concrete shop. No one was home, and the group said they gave up on the robbery.
They parked their truck near Williams’ shop but said he was not the intended target of the would-be robbery.
Odell Williams’ wife called him to report the suspicious car.
Moore’s public defender, William Frick, told jurors that Williams chased after them. Moore and co-defendants have testified that Williams fired at them first and continued to do so during a high-speed chase through Chester.
The incident ended around Roundtree Circle, when Moore fell out of the truck with his gun in his hand.
Prosecutors argued that Moore told his friends he wanted out of the truck. They said he positioned himself to deliberately shoot at Williams as he drove by.
The case was moved to Fairfield County after the defense argued Moore could not get a fair trial in Chester because of media coverage.
WBTV is a news partner of The Charlotte Observer