Accused murderer
to be retried

A jury fails to issue a unanimous
verdict in the drug-related case

A hung jury resulted in a mistrial for Arthur Birano, charged with second-degree murder in a botched drug-robbery.


Arthur Birano: He says that two friends he hired killed contractor Darryl Lee

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins declared a mistrial late Friday after the jury indicated they could not reach a unanimous verdict. They had been deliberating for about three days since last Tuesday.

Attorney Nelson Goo, who represented Birano, 33, said they are disappointed after learning that the jurors were hung, 9-3 for not guilty.

Because the case involves murder, the state does not intend to drop the charges and will retry Birano, said Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter.

Birano is accused of shooting contractor Darryl Lee, 46, at his Salt Lake home in April 2001 after breaking into the home to steal drugs. Prosecutors said Birano allegedly recruited two friends, one who told him that Lee kept crystal methamphetamine at the home, and another to help him break into the home and act as a lookout.

Birano contends he was not at Lee's home the night Lee, a drug dealer and drug user, was killed.

Defense attorney Nelson Goo suggested that the two friends Birano hired to help him were responsible for Lee's death and had much to gain by blaming Birano.

A new trial has been set for Nov. 14.

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