Three mistrials is enough in murder case, prosecutors decide

Posted: Friday, May 16, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) A man accused of killing his father won't face a fourth murder trial unless new evidence comes up, prosecutors have decided. After three mistrials in two years, the state dismissed first-degree murder charges against 20-year-old Jos M. ''Che'' Mateu.

The most recent mistrial came earlier this month when a jury in Juneau deadlocked with nine jurors favoring conviction and three favoring acquittal. The case was tried in Juneau after two earlier trials in Ketchikan also ended in a jury deadlock, the first one in May of 2001 and the second in October of the same year.

Mateu had been charged in September 2000 with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the January 2000 shooting death of his father, Jos R. Mateu, in Ketchikan.

Juneau District Attorney Richard Svobodny filed the dismissal paper in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday.

The charges were dismissed under Alaska legal rule 43(a), which states: ''The prosecuting attorney may file a dismissal of an indictment, information or complaint and the prosecution shall thereupon terminate.''

The charges were dismissed ''without prejudice,'' which means that new charges could be brought later against Mateu if new, compelling evidence was uncovered.

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