Hung Jury in Chick-Fil-A Murder Case - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Hung Jury in Chick-Fil-A Murder Case

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By Al Pefley email

West Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

The Chick-Fil-A murder case has ended in a mistrial.  Jurors spent the past two and a half days deliberating.

But late this afternoon, they told the judge they could not agree on a verdict, so the judge declared a mistrial about 4:40 this afternoon.

Some members of the jury were in tears, crying after the judge thanked them for their efforts.

"Some times these things do happen. It's not because you didn't try," Circuit Court Judge Lucy Brown told the jurors.

The victim's mother was in the back of courtroom.  So was the victim's father, sitting a few feet away from her in another row.

26-year old Jessie Miller had been on trial for murder, kidnapping and robbery in the 1999 slaying of 18-year old Nicholas Megrath, the night manager at the Chick-Fil-A in the Palm Beach Mall. He was tied to a chair, shot in the head, and the culprits got away with about $600 dollars.

"We respect the jury's hard work and their decision and we'll be back on Monday to schedule the trial for whenever the judge sets it," said Assistant State Attorney Andy Slater.

"I would be relieved if there was a not guilty verdict. And then we could all get on with our lives. So this is just sort of postponing some resolution," said Shari Vrod, defense attorney.

Megrath's relatives left quickly without stopping in the hallway to comment. The jurors left the courtroom through a rear exit,  and were unavailable for comment.

During the trial, Miller did not testify in his own defense.  The defense claimed the evidence against him was not strong enough to support a conviction, and consisted primarily of  DNA on a ski-mask and what appeared to be Miller's handwriting on a note found at the crime scene.

What's next? The judge is expected to set a new trial date at a hearing Monday morning. In the meantime, Miller remains behind bars.

The jury deliberated for about 18 hours since Wednesday afternoon and was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.  Because Miller was a juvenile at time of the murder,  the state could not seek the death penalty.  If he is convicted at another trial, he would face life in prison.

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