Megan Martzen murder jury deadlocked, still deliberating

February 14, 2013 12:15:02 AM PST
Jurors in the murder case against a Reedley babysitter told a judge Wednesday they are deadlocked, but the case is moving forward anyway.

Jurors sent the judge a note in the morning saying they were unable to reach an agreement.

"We are unable to come to any agreement on any charges," they wrote. "Hung jury."

But the judge is the only person who can declare a hung jury and he ordered them back into the jury room to continue deliberations.

Martzen had a stressed look on her face as she entered the courtroom. The babysitter accused of killing 17-month-old Ella Van Leeuwen learned the jury was split 10-1-1-one on the murder count against her, and 7-5 on the child assault causing death count.

The judge didn't ask jurors which way they were leaning, but he did ask them all if they thought they could reach a unanimous decision on either count.

The jurors were unanimous on that, saying they were hopelessly deadlocked, although two jurors gave the judge a glimmer of hope they could reach a verdict on one count.

Defense attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt wanted the judge to declare a mistrial. But after meeting with the attorneys, Judge Ed Sarkisian ordered jurors to reconsider their positions and try deliberating further.

Both attorneys told Action News it's like trying to read tea leaves for them to figure out what the jury is thinking.

If the jury remains deadlocked, Judge Sarkisian can declare a mistrial, at which point prosecutors would have to decide whether to refile the case and take it to trial again.

We'll continue to monitor the jury deliberations and we'll have instant updates when they reach a final decision on abc30.com and on Facebook and Twitter.


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