VISALIA, California (KGPE) – A shocking decision from one hold out juror means the fate of a woman accused of killing her ex-husband is pushed back.
Day five of deliberations saw a mistrial officially declared in the murder trial of 33-year-old Erika Sandoval, which began two months ago. The final vote was 11-1 in favor of convicting Sandoval of First Degree Murder.
“They say we cannot agree on murder 1, we are a hung jury,” said Judge Joseph Kalashian, who came out of retirement to oversee this case.
One juror refused to convict Sandoval while the other 11 agreed to First Degree Murder. Sandoval admitted in court that on Feb. 6, 2015, she shot and killed her ex-husband and Exeter Police Officer Daniel Green.
Juror John Whetstone said the juror who voted against the rest made it clear from the first day of deliberation how she was going to vote.
“She said that it was going to be a hung jury. She wasn’t going to change her mind and we went through all of the evidence again and looked at it all over. Even after looking it over multiple times, it just, she never seemed to waver and she never seemed to care what we were going to say.”
Another juror, Jeremy Yarbro, was upset that a verdict wasn’t reached.
“I feel like justice wasn’t served and I have heard that from some of the others that are not here right now,” he said.
Sandoval’s attorney Dan Chambers commended the standout juror and said the evidence didn’t prove the prosecution’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Chambers said this is clear by the vote of 9-3 in favor of First Degree Murder on the first day of deliberation.
“It is possible to have a different view of the evidence without someone being labeled as they are crazy or they don’t know what they are doing,” Chambers.
Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said although his office is disappointed, he is confident going forward to the second trial.
“This is justice delayed,” said Ward. “In our mind, we feel that the evidence is strong and we are going to proceed with the same theory that we had. This is justice delayed – not justice denied.”
The attorneys will meet again in January; the earliest a new trial could begin would be April 2020. In the meantime, Sandoval will remain behind bars.