Judge denies mistrial request in Northern Arizona University murder case
A judge in Flagstaff has denied a request for a mistrial in the murder case of a former Northern Arizona University student and recalled the jury.
Judge Dan Slayton met with lawyers Thursday morning, a day after he suspended deliberations.
Slayton said he didn’t believe the jury had complete information about defendant Steven Jones’ claim he acted in self-defense when he shot four students in 2015 near campus.
That prompted Jones’ attorney to request the mistrial Wednesday. Slayton later determined there was no purposeful misconduct on prosecution’s part.
Prosecutor Ammon Barker had implied in closing Jones had not claimed self-defense until he was at the police station.
Statements that Jones made while he was sitting in the police car, including, “I didn’t want to die,” were not introduced into evidence because prosecutors argued it was hearsay.
“There are statements made by Jones that could be argued as self-defense,” Slayton said.
“My concern is that the first time the jury thinks Mr. Jones raised a self defense claim was sometime into an 8 hours interview, but it could be argued that he made a self-defense claim 20 minuets into being in a police car, but we precluded those statements.”
Jones shot and killed Colin Brough and wounded Nicholas Piring, Nicholas Prato and Kyle Zeintek.
Prosecution did not seek the death penalty.
The 20-year-old Jones pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges and aggravated assault.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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