After three jurors called in sick in two days, a mistrial was declared Thursday in a murder trial involving a fatal shooting outside a bar south of downtown nearly two years ago.
Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent stopped Michael O. Anderson Jr.'s trial just before closing arguments were to begin. The jury likely would have been sent to deliberate for a verdict after closing arguments, but two alternate jurors had already been seated Wednesday and with one more juror calling in sick Thursday, only 11 jurors remained on the 12-person panel, Zent said.
“He (Anderson) has a right to a 12-person jury,” Zent told The Journal Gazette after declaring a mistrial. “He did not waive his right.”
Zent would not say whether the three jurors who called in sick had COVID-19. Social distancing is used in the courtroom, he added. Masks are strongly recommended, and judges and magistrates have the option to require masks.
Anderson, 23, is charged with shooting Jaylin Robinson, 21, several times just before midnight Sept. 28, 2019, in the parking lot behind Broadway Grill, 1420 Broadway. Robinson had walked up to Anderson and three others to shake hands before he was shot, according to court documents.
After the shooting, Anderson fled west on Lavina Street and was seen running past a home on a resident's Ring doorbell video. That neighbor testified in court Tuesday.
Anderson was in jail on a parole violation when he was charged with the killing about a month later. Anderson is charged with murder and using a firearm in the commission of an offense. He faces a maximum of 85 years in prison.