houston,tx:mistrial declared in ms-13 murder

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houston,tx:mistrial declared in ms-13 murder

Unread post by Qdawg » July 7th, 2007, 12:18 pm

Mistrial declared in case of girl accused of gang member's murder

HOUSTON - A mistrial was declared Friday after a jury couldn't reach a verdict in the case of a 17-year-old girl accused of fatally stabbing a member of the notorious MS-13 gang during a brawl in a city park last year.

Jurors deliberated for three days before telling state District Judge Devon Anderson they were deadlocked in deciding the fate of Ashley Benton.

Benton was accused of murdering MS-13 gang member Gabriel Granillo by plunging a double-bladed knife into the 15-year-old's heart during a June 2006 gang fight.

The jury began deliberating Wednesday, following a week of testimony, including testimony from five gang members.

As Anderson declared a mistrial, Benton and at least one of the jurors wept.

A hearing was scheduled for July 12 to decide what happens next in the case.

Prosecutors, who contend Granillo was running away from the fight when he was stabbed by Benton, said they have not decided whether to retry the teen.

Prosecutor Mia Magness said she wasn't disappointed by the jury's inability to reach a verdict.

"My sense is they really struggled with the dynamics of the offense, the fact that they had to look to gang members for information and I think that's difficult to ask anyone to do," Magness said.

Benton's attorneys said she stabbed Granillo in self-defense after he swung a bat at her during a brawl between MS-13 and the gang Crazy Crew, with which Benton was affiliated.

"Anytime you can walk away from the courthouse without a conviction it's a victory," said defense attorney Kent Schaffer. "It's not the ultimate victory that we wanted and that we believe we should ultimately be able to get. But we've lived to fight another day, and we will."

Benton had faced a sentence ranging from probation to life in prison if convicted of murder.

Benton was 16 when she stabbed Granillo, but was certified to stand trial as an adult.

She will remain under house arrest at a relative's home.

http://www.examiner.com/a-806773~Mistri ... urder.html

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Unread post by Anesis » July 7th, 2007, 1:05 pm

We've been following this all year long.

She cleans up really well in the courthouse.

They actually had MS-13 members come to court to testify, but I think that was a bad decision on the prosecutor's part. I read in one of the news stories that the testimony was that MS-13 members wouldn't attack a woman so that Benton's attack was unprovoked.

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