PDT Staff Writer
Judge Howard H. Harcha III has declared a mistrial in the case of an Otway man accused of shooting to death another Otway resident.
The state had rested it’s case against Terry V. Shepherd, 36, of 376 Dodds Rd. on Wednesday, and the defense had called witnesses for about an hour-and-a-half at the end of the day. However, two incidents this week led to the declaration of a mistrial in the case.
“Sadly, we were probably within a day of finishing the case,” Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said.
The first issue occurred Tuesday when one of the jurors realized he knew one of the witnesses.
“He (juror) didn’t realize he did until he came to testify,” Kuhn said. “He found out he went by his middle name. He had been friends with him and had gone to high school with him. So he (juror) was excused because of that.”
That led to one of the alternate jurors moving into the active jury.
“Then, there was an incident yesterday (Wednesday) where one of the witnesses for the state, one of the victim’s family who had testified to one of the jurors, either as she was coming or going, and said, ’there’s one of them,’ and it made her uncomfortable,” Kuhn said. “He (the witness) explained to me that what meant was - ‘there’s one of them, we had better get back in court.”
Kuhn said the problem that arose from that incident was that the juror discussed it with two other jurors.
“So there were three jurors we talked to yesterday concerning how that made them feel,” Kuhn said. “And, as a result of that, three jurors were removed this (Thursday) morning.”
Kuhn said he will now begin the process of scheduling another trial.
“For today, certainly it’s over,” Kuhn said. “We’ll ask for a new trial date, and get the case back on the trial docket and go at it again.”
Shepherd is accused of shooting to death Carl Douglas Tackett Jr., 30, of 1692 Bear Creek Rarden Road.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said on March 8, 2012, deputies responded to a 911 complaint of a shooting on Dodds Road in Otway. The Sheriff’s report states that Tackett was found dead in Shepherd’s driveway. Shepherd was arrested and charged with one count of murder.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org