FIRST ON KHQ.COM: Jury Deadlocked In Lipinski Trial; Judge Decla - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FIRST ON KHQ.COM: Jury Deadlocked In Lipinski Trial; Judge Declares Mistrial

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SPOKANE, Wash. - A mistrial has been declared in the second trial for John Lipinski, a Cheney man facing two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree manslaughter in the 2004 death of his pregnant girlfriend, Melissa Saldivar, and their baby, Mataya.

The jury spent just over two full days deliberating, before sending Judge Harold Clarke III this message Wednesday morning: "We are unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the counts at this time. Please advise."

The Judge called the jury back in to ask the foreman of the 12-person group if there's a "reasonable probability they could reach an agreement." The forman answered, "No."

After excusing the jury, the Judge conferred with counsel, ultimately agreeing to declare a mistrial, saying, "It's apparent to me based on my trial experience they have spent a fair amount of time talking about this case."

Prosecutors are now seeking a third trial, which is set to begin May.

"I just think it's really despicable that this murderer gets to put us through this again and again and revictimize us," Saldivar's aunt, Toni Foster, told KHQ's Kelsey Watts. "He should be severely punished for this, it's not right."

A mistrial is an outcome she feared ever since the jury spent the first day deliberating. In Lipinski's first trial in 2006, she says jurors only deliberated four hours before convicting Lipinski. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. However, his conviction was overturned for a procedure involving the questioning of jurors.

Now, Lipinski will be held in jail pending his third trial, which is set to begin May 19th. After the mistrial was declared Wednesday, Lipinski agreed to speak with KHQ, but his lawyer declined the interview.

"Let's not forget he was found guilty before and he is guilty and he knows it," Foster added.


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