Mistrial declared again in drug killing
A majority of jurors favored conviction this time in the 2001 case
A hung jury resulted in a second mistrial earlier this week for Arthur Birano, accused of murdering another man over drugs five years ago.
Circuit Court Judge Richard Perkins declared a mistrial Tuesday at Birano's second trial after the jury indicated that they could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Birano was charged with second-degree murder for shooting contractor Darryl Lee after breaking into the man's Salt Lake home in April 2001 to steal drugs.
The prosecution hinged on the testimony of two of Birano's friends who told police that Birano had recruited them to help break into the home to steal drugs. One of those friends had informed Birano there were drugs in the home.
Birano denies being at Lee's home the night of the murder and suggested his two friends were responsible.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said he would talk to Lee's family before deciding how to proceed.
The jurors had indicated that they stood 10-2 in favor of guilty on the murder charge and 11-1 for guilty on the firearm offenses, Van Marter said.
The fact that they were close to convicting Birano will be given much weight in deciding what to do next, he said.
Defense attorney Nelson Goo could not be reached for comment.
At Birano's first trial, in September, the jury members were hung 9-3 in favor of not guilty.