ANCHORAGE (AP) -- After seven days of deliberation, jurors in the Billy Dean Smith murder trial reported themselves deadlocked Wednesday.
But when about half the panel said trying one more day might possibly lead to a verdict, Kenai Superior Court Judge Jonathan Link told them to continue their deliberations Thursday.
However, Link told the lawyers in the case he was not optimistic the jury would reach a verdict.
If a mistrial is declared, it would be the second in the case in five weeks. Link aborted a trial in Kenai on Sept. 27 when a man who said he witnessed the two murders testified that he took a lie detector test as part of his deal with the state. Lie detector results are not scientifically reliable and are not admissible in court in Alaska.
The second trial was moved to Anchorage because publicity about the first trial tainted the Kenai area jury pool.
Smith is charged with luring Harold Enzler, 36, of Nikiski and Nancy Bellamy, 42, of Homer to a remote road near Nikiski in March 1994, shooting them to death, then dismembering their bodies and dumping the pieces in the deep water off Homer. None of the remains were found. Smith and Enzler were both involved in the illegal drug trade on the Kenai Peninsula, according to testimony.
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