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Judge Declares Mistrial in Duenas Trial

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Updated: 8/06/2013 5:28 pm

(UPDATE) 12:10 p.m.-The jury in the Mark Duenas murder trial has indicated they are "hopelessly deadlocked". The judge has declared a mistrial.

A “hung jury” was announced during the verdict reading in the Mark Duenas trial moments ago. The judge has sent the jury back for further deliberation. A courtroom source has told Action News Now Reporter Charlene Cheng the jury is currently hung 9-3 in favor of acquittal. Duenas is charged with stabbing his wife to death his wife in their Cottonwood home last May.

Last Wednesday, the prosecution and defense teams made their closing arguments to the jury.

In its closing statements, the prosecution made its case the evidence presented to the jury shows that Duenas murdered his wife Karen in their Cottonwood home last May. The defense cited a 911 call in which the prosecution claims Duenas stated "I killed my wife". The defense claims Duenas stated "my wife is sick" during the call. The prosecution argued with the amount of blood found at the scene, “sick” was not a reasonable interpretation.

In closing the prosecution stated Duenas was the only one with the motive, means, and opportunity to kill Karen.

The defense in its closing arguments stated it was “easy to assume” Duenas murdered his wife since he was the only one known to be at the scene, but that the prosecution failed to fully prove its case. The defense also claimed investigators unfairly targeted Duenas from the start. Duenas also claimed the 911 call investigators played for him was altered and slowed down. The defense further stated according to witness testimony there was little evidence the married couple intended to file for divorce.

The jury began its deliberations around 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday. 

Ealier in the trial, the judge denied a motion for a mistrial by the defense. The motion was prompted while the prosecution was playing a dvd recording of Duenas being interviewed by detectives shortly after his arrest. Minutes into the presentation, however, prosecutors realized that a portion of the interview that was not supposed to be played was playing in the courtroom. It was during that segment when Duenas was heard asking for an attorney to be present. Our reporter tells us a member of the prosecution team leapt up to turn down the recording.

Prosecutors explained to the judge that the there was a long and short version DVD recording. The long version was the one played to the jury. motion was eventually denied by the judge.


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