Three mistrials enough in murder case


Posted: Friday, May 16, 2003

KETCHIKAN - A man accused of killing his father won't face a fourth murder trial unless new evidence comes up, prosecutors have decided. After three mistrials in two years, the state dismissed first-degree murder charges against 20-year-old José M. "Che" Mateu.

The most recent mistrial came earlier this month when a jury in Juneau deadlocked with nine jurors favoring conviction and three favoring acquittal. The case was tried in Juneau after two earlier trials in Ketchikan ended in a jury deadlock, the first one in May of 2001 and the second in October of the same year.

Mateu was charged in September 2000 with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the January 2000 shooting death of his father, José R. Mateu, in Ketchikan.

Juneau District Attorney Richard Svobodny filed the dismissal paper in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. The charges were dismissed "without prejudice," which means new charges could be brought later if new evidence was uncovered.

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