Mistrial in shooting | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mistrial in shooting

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 6:35 PM

A Pulaski Circuit Court jury couldn't reach a verdict today in the trial of Larry Staley, who killed an 18-year-old on his Sherwood property in 2007. A mistrial was declared.

It didn't look much like self-defense in the original accounts (Staley's own accounts were conflicting), which is why the prosecutor, with many Sherwood police officers as witnesses, charged him with manslaughter. Staley's defense was that he fired shots at thieves who threatened him, though he'd told authorities originally that he didn't feel threatened that night. He was too prone to fire at distant figures he believed burglarizing an outbuilding on his property and had done so on other occasions, prosecutors have said.

I understand from a juror that the jury was split 6-6 on convicting Staley on a lesser charge of negligent homicide. (My earlier account of this was incorrect, I'm now told by a source.) The jury deliberated five hours.

Fox 16's coverage indicates that family members testified at seeing someone near a window that night. That contributed to a defense that he was protecting his home, though the dead man was found a good distance away. It took a day to find his body. Staley DID testify, at variance with a tape-recorded statement he'd given authorities shortly after the shooting.

CORRECTION: I'd originally written that I didn't understand why the jury couldn't reach a verdict on a charge that he was a felon in possession of a firearm, unless it had been dismissed before trial for some reason. Nobody argues that he had no gun and fired no shots in the death of Bryant Cross, 18. Prosecutors have said he has a prior conviction on a sexual assault charge. I now have been told that this trial didn't cover that weapons charge. He was rearrested immediately after trial on that charge and taken back into custody. Staley is also in an ongoing scrap with the city over an excess number of ducks on his property. He is, obviously, an odd duck, in addition to being a danger to the neighborhood.

Here's our coverage of the case when it first developed.

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