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Deadlocked juries produce mistrials in 2 murder cases

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 10, 2001

LARGO -- A Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge declared a mistrial in the first-degree murder trial of Marquise Jenkins early Friday morning.

Jurors told the judge after nearly 10 hours of deliberations that they were hopelessly deadlocked 11-to-1 in favor of conviction and didn't think they could ever agree on a unanimous verdict.

So just after midnight, Judge Nancy Moate Ley declared a mistrial to end the three-day trial. Prosecutors plan to retry Jenkins later this year.

In a rare coincidence, it was the second mistrial of the night in a Pinellas murder case. Hours earlier, a judge in the first-degree murder trial of Robert "Rocky" Wells declared a mistrial because another jury also was deadlocked.

Wells, 50, is an ex-Marine charged with killing his girlfriend.

Jenkins, 19, of St. Petersburg is accused of participating in the home invasion robbery of Juan Jose Gonzalez on April 26, 1999. Gonzalez was a Honduran tile setter who lived in St. Petersburg and sent money back to his family in Honduras.

Jenkins' friend, Xavier Love, was accused of shooting Gonzalez during the robbery. He was convicted of murder last year and is serving life in prison.

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