According to prosecutors, 38-year-old Terrence Lamont Allen stabbed Dimir Ranz Burton, 39, in the head after a Sept. 14, 2010, altercation at the Car Exchange on Quintard Avenue, where both men worked.
Allen and his attorney, David Johnston, say Allen acted in self-defense while prosecutors say the defendant had the opportunity to walk away from the incident.
The jury had deliberated for more than eight hours stretched across three days. Turner said neither the prosecution nor the defense moved to declare a mistrial. Rather, he said, he made the decision because he discovered one of the jurors did independent study outside the courtroom — something Turner instructed the jury not to do.
Several jurors outside the courtroom afterward said the independent study concerned the legal criteria for self defense and manslaughter. At the jury’s request, Turner on Thursday reiterated what constitutes the two terms.
Both the prosecution and Allen’s defense attorney, David Johnston, agreed with Turner’s decision.
“I understand the juror’s motivation for wanting to clear up in their mind the question that they had, but it was contrary to what the judge instructed,” said Calhoun County Assistant District Attorney Sheila Field.
Asked for comment after the decision, assistant DA Randy Moeller said it was hard to find the words without cursing. Now, he said, the state will have to spend more resources trying the case again. Moeller said another trial could come as soon as October or November.
Turner and all of the attorneys thanked the jury, who are now dismissed from the case, for their efforts.
Pam Vincent, the mother of Burton’s 9-year-old son, said she’s confident Allen will be convicted when the case is brought to trial again.
Allen will remain free on bond until the case is tried again.
Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.