Jurors deliberating in the 36-year-old missing-child case of Etan Patz said Tuesday they are deadlocked for the second time in 15 days, but a judge told them to keep trying.
The jury sent a midday note saying it was still stuck in the case against Pedro Hernandez, who admitted killing Etan, but whose defense says the confession is false.
“After serious, significant and thorough deliberations, we remain unable to reach a unanimous verdict,” wrote the jury, which has reviewed dozens of exhibits and even created a spreadsheet to organize the discussion. Jurors haven’t been locked in debate all that time; they’ve spent hours in the courtroom, listening again to testimony and even both sides’ closing arguments.
The defense asked Tuesday for a mistrial, arguing that the deliberations had gone on long enough.
“This is a tired jury that says it can’t reach a verdict, and we asked the judge to respect that,” defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein said outside court.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, sought an instruction telling jurors to reconsider their views. State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley instead asked jurors to keep deliberating while reminding them they weren’t required to reach a verdict.
Looking weary, the jurors filed out of court to keep talking.
Last week the panel said it was deadlocked and was told by the judge to continue deliberations.
The jury then asked to rehear the trial’s closing arguments.