FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The judge has declared a mistrial in the Dayonte Resiles murder case after the jury said Wednesday that they could not reach a unanimous decision on any charge after more than five days of deliberations.
Resiles, 27, was accused of killing 59-year-old Jill Halliburton Su in her Davie home in 2014.
Shortly before noon Wednesday, the jury sent notice to Broward Circuit Judge John J. Murphy that they were unable to agree on a verdict. Murphy shook hands with each juror and thanked them, then he set Jan. 3 as the date to pick a new jury for a retrial.
Around 8 p.m. Tuesday the family of the defendant and the family of the victim returned to the courtroom when the jury said they had reached a verdict.
But after a manslaughter verdict was read, the judge quickly learned those jurors were not unanimous in their decision. Upon paneling the jurors individually, the first one said she did not agree with that verdict.
“You need to go back to the jury room and continue with your deliberations,” Murphy said.
They returned Wednesday morning for a sixth day of deliberations and still couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict.
The jury was trying to decide between manslaughter — which could carry a maximum sentence of 30 years — or first-degree murder, which in the case of Resiles could result in the death penalty.
The trial began with opening arguments in mid-November.
Prosecutors said Su interrupted Resiles as he was burglarizing her home on Sept. 8, 2014. Evidence showed the 59-year-old woman was bound at the hands and feet, forced into a bathtub and stabbed about 25 times, according to court testimony.
Resiles pleaded not guilty. While DNA evidence placed Resiles at the scene, defense lawyers questioned whether the evidence was contaminated.
Amelida Resiles, Dayonte’s sister, was overcome with emotion after learning of the mistrial.
“I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, I feel like the journey has just been nerve-racking, like you know being here every day and then being told you gotta come back tomorrow, got to come back tomorrow,” she said. “I have faith, and I feel like God is in the midst of all of this.”
A legal expert told Local 10 News on Tuesday that the long jury deliberations appeared to show that defense attorneys were successful in establishing reasonable doubt in the murder trial.
“It means that this case is not open and shut. It means that it’s not black and white,” said veteran defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich, who is not involved in this case. “All of the jurors have to be unanimous. All have to come to the same verdict.
“Remember, not guilty means not proven,” Schwartzreich added. “The prosecution has to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. It looks like the defense has done a really good job creating a reasonable doubt.”
On Wednesday, Schwartzreich noted that the mistrial likely won’t deter prosecutors’ efforts to get a conviction.
“The State of Florida is just not going to give up if there is a mistrial,” he said. “They will continue until there is an outcome.”
Resiles also faces criminal charges from a 2016 escape attempt. Resiles unlocked his shackles and fled from a hearing at the courthouse, resulting in a six-day manhunt.