After five long days of deliberations, a jury of seven women and five men just couldn’t call it, leaving the judge in Beanie Sigel’s murder case with no option but to declare a mistrial.
“At this point, I’m gonna go home and get some sleep,” said Dwight “Beanie Sigel” Grant as he emerged triumphantly from the Philadelphia courthouse thronged by reporters. “I want to thank everybody who stuck by me, who supported me, who believed in me.”
“He walked in innocent and he walked out an innocent man,” said Defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr outside of the courthouse on Tuesday evening. Perri believes his case was won because of the overall “quality” of the witnesses and discrepancies in their testimonies. The victim, Terrance Speller, originally told investigators he couldn’t identify the gunman but later fingered Sigel and argued he and another witness lied because they “feared for themselves and their families.”
Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Shreeves-Johns presided over the hearings and deliberations which began last Wednesday. On Thursday, the jury requested to be dismissed because they couldn’t come to a consensus on any of the charges which included aggravated assault, conspiracy and weapons offenses. The judge sent the jury back to deliberate through Friday and Monday, only to be faced with another note from the foreman.
“After deep and sincere deliberation of all that has come before us, we the jury cannot come to a unanimous verdict on any of the charges,” the foreman wrote.
Shreeves-Johns asked the foreman if there was a chance that the jury could reach a verdict, to which the foreman replied, “No.”
Unsatisfied, Shreeves-Johns once again ordered the jury back to deliberations only to have them return an hour later to request to review material, including crime scene photos and witness statements.
As the day neared a close, the jury was called back to the courtroom looking weary and frustrated. When asked by Shreeves-Johns whether further time to deliberate would be helpful, several jurors vehemently stated, “No.”
Shreeves-Johns dismissed the jury on the basis of a mistrial and scheduled another hearing on May 26th to set a new trial date. Sigel, looking tired but dapper in his black suit and polka dot tie, shook his lawyer’s hand.
Prosecutors have declared they will retry the case with the same jury if possible.
Meanwhile, Sigel remains free on $150,000 bail but is facing a sentencing in July on federal gun charges. Sigel can face between three and eleven years in prison on these charges, for which he entered a guilty plea agreement two weeks ago.