Not Enough Jurors Dooms Isom Case To Mistrial
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CROWN POINT, Ind. (STMW) — The capital murder trial of a Gary man charged with killing his wife and stepchildren ended Wednesday in mistrial after running out of jurors.
Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. said declaring the mistrial in the trial of 46-year-old Kevin Isom was “the only appropriate and fair resolution in light of the circumstances” shortly after the last juror was eliminated from consideration Wednesday afternoon, the 15th day of jury selection. A total of nine jurors were selected to hear evidence in the case.
Stefaniak said the number of potential jurors summoned for jury service was 150 more than the last death penalty case, in which Darryl Jeter was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 for the murder of Indiana State Police Trooper Scott Patrick. Stefaniak said the fact the jury pool in the Isom case was consumed couldn’t have been predicted or foreseen and that the parties had made a good-faith effort to pick a jury to hear evidence.
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Stefaniak offered Isom the option of going to trial with just nine jurors, but Isom said he agreed with his defense team. Veteran public defenders Herb Shaps and Casey McCloskey have logged hundreds of hours, at more than $100 per hour, in preparing for the case and attending hearings.
Chief Public Defender David Schneider said he would not comment on costs associated with the case while it is pending. The case is being prosecuted by deputy prosecutors David Urbanski and Michelle Jatkiewicz. Gary police Detective James Bond is lead investigator.
Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter would not comment on whether his office would withdraw the death penalty request when the case is retried.
After Stefaniak declared the mistrial, Isom appeared to become emotional as he shook hands with and hugged Shaps and McCloskey before he was returned to the Lake County Jail, where he has been held without bail since the shooting deaths of Cassandra Isom, 40; Michael Moore, 16, and Ci’Andria Cole, 13.
Isom has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges and four counts of attempted murder involving Gary police who were called Aug. 6, 2007, to the Lakeshore Dunes Apartments to investigate gunshots inside the family apartment.
The victims’ family members have attended every court hearing since charges were filed more than four years ago. They left shortly before Stefaniak’s ruling.
A status hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. March 29.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)