ANCHORAGE (AP) -- For the second time, the Billy Dean Smith murder trial has ended in a mistrial.
The jury remained deadlocked Thursday, a day after some jurors said it was possible to reach consensus.
Jurors reported themselves deadlocked Wednesday after seven days of deliberation. 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 jurors would reach a verdict. And they didn't.
It is the second mistrial 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.
In the second trial, the jury did reach guilty verdicts on several counts of destroying evidence, which the defense admitted during the trial.
A retrial was scheduled for Jan. 13, and sentencing on the tampering for Jan. 24.
Peninsula Clarion © 2016. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us