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Jury woes cause man to mount fourth criminal defense

A Kansas man will face a fourth trial in connection with an attempted murder charge that dates back to 2011. The defendant, age 65, is accused of shooting another man, who was 58 years old at the time of the attack. Incredibly, three previous juries in the case could not reach a verdict for a variety of reasons, so the man must once again present his criminal defense in the hope of being exonerated.

Reports show that the man is accused of shooting the victim after the pair had an argument on the victim's property. He is said to have shot the victim in the chest with a handgun; he then performed first aid on that individual, who was saved. The defendant was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, though he has always claimed self-defense. The man said that he was arguing with his neighbor about property maintenance for a fence that divided their land.

The defendant has yet to be convicted of the alleged violent crimes, and legal representatives say it is unusual for a case to continue to four trials. The first was in October 2012. That trial was labeled a mistrial after it was determined that jurors had seen evidence that was supposed to have been redacted. Two other juries -- in June 2013 and most recently in March -- were simply unable to reach verdicts in the case.

Many defendants would not have the tenacity to continue with this many trials for their violent crimes. However, guilty pleas are not appropriate for every criminal proceeding. Criminal defendants have the right to fair trials, even if it takes several of them to reach an appropriate legal conclusion.

Source: The Topeka Capital-Journal, "Valley Falls man to face fourth trial for 2011 attempted murder" Ann Marie Bush, May. 07, 2014

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