MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A deadlocked jury in the trial of an accused cop killer has forced the judge in the case to declare a mistrial.
Dennis Escobar, along with his brother Douglas, is accused of shooting Miami police officer Victor Estefan in March 1998. The pair was first convicted during a trial in 1991 and sentenced to death. However an appeal submitted to the Florida Supreme Court overturned that decision.
Jurors informed the judge just after 3 p.m. Tuesday that they could’t reach a unanimous decision and didn’t see any hope of that changing.
Dennis Escobar was expected to accept a plea deal that would have sentenced him to a 55-year term along with his brother, but at the last minute he rejected it.
The trial was on the verge of becoming a mistrial when a police detective let it slip during his testimony that the Escobars had also been charged with attempted murder in California.
Early Monday afternoon the jury informed the judge that they were not close to reaching a unanimous verdict. The judge informed the jury that they should continue their deliberations before he would consider declaring a mistrial.
Late in the day the jury said their conversations had been “fruitful since we’ve sent back in” they asked the judge if they could go home, get a good nights sleep and return to their work Tuesday.
The judge agreed.
Escobar was facing the death penalty if convicted.