Judge declares mistrial in Garland officer's manslaughter case


A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former Garland officer who was charged with manslaughter for a 2012 shooting.

Patrick Tuter opened fire on an unarmed man following a high-speed chase that ended in Mesquite. He fired 41 shots at Michael Allen, ultimately hitting him three times and killing him.

The jury deliberated for five hours on Friday and another hour Monday morning. They passed several notes to the judge telling him they could not reach a verdict. And by the third note, they said they had reviewed all the evidence and no amount of deliberating would bring them closer to a unanimous decision.

Tuter slipped out of the courtroom to avoid reporters after his 5-day trial. His attorney says he's not addressing reporters because the manslaughter charge is still pending.

Tuter had hoped he'd finally put what unfolded august 31st 2012 behind him, but the prospect of a second trial still looms.

On Friday, Tuter took the stand in his own defense and said he saw Allen reach down to his side for what he thought was a gun. His lawyers argued he fired in self-defense after Allen slammed his pickup truck into his patrol car.

Prosecutors argued Tuter used excessive force and put fellow officers in danger. Three Garland officers testified against him, and three Mesquite investigators testified on his behalf.

“I believe the law is clearly on our side. The facts are clearly on our side,” said Defense Attorney Robert Rogers. “They gave it their best shot, and I don't think they proved it.”

“This was case even more difficult because the investigating agency that sent the case to the grand jury was testifying for the defense,” said Special Prosecutor Juan Sanchez.

Sanchez says it's very difficult to convict officers, but sees something positive in the outcome.

“I think the message is that we are not afraid to try these cases,” he said. “I think in some communities these cases don't even get indicted.”

Michael Allen's father, Randy left the courtroom with other relatives emotionally fatigued, feeling no closer to a resolution.

“It’s just been horrible,” he said. “I'm at a loss for words right now. I don't know what to say. Just keep trying.”

Jurors also left without talking to reporters. But attorneys on both sides did talk to them.

Lead Defense Attorney Robert Rogers says nine jurors were in favor of acquittal with three wanting to convict. Prosecutor Juan Sanchez says it was seven for acquittal and 5 to convict.

As for reasons for why the jurors voted the way they did, Attorney Toby Shook, who helped with the defense, says perhaps it had to do with the climate toward police officers and the dividing affect that may have on a jury pool.

The DA's office recused itself, and Juan Sanchez was appointed Special Prosecutor, so it will be up to him and the defense team if they decide to re-try it. He says they'll decompress over the holidays, review what they heard from jurors and talk to Michael Allen's family.

Sanchez says his inclination is to retry it, but he wants to take a little time before making that decision.

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