Juror has to leave Eric Ellington trial after son hospitalized

Trial of man accused of killing couple at Miami Gardens gas station in 2011 cut short

MIAMI - The trial of a teenager accused of killing a couple at a Miami Gardens gas station in 2011 was cut short Thursday after a juror had to leave court to tend to her hospitalized son.

Eric Ellington, 19, is on trial in the July 2011 shooting that claimed the lives of Julian Soler, 23, and Kennia Duran, 24. Ellington was 16 at the time.

A juror came to court and told the judge she needed to go to Miami Children's Hospital, where her son had been admitted after suffering a severe allergic reaction.

Jurors were dismissed for lunch while the judge and lawyers waited to find out whether the excused juror would be able to return in the afternoon.

After recess, the judge said the juror would be able to return by 2:30 p.m., but with the threat of severe weather on the horizon, the judge opted to dismiss for the day.

Surveillance video of the crime shows Soler and Duran stopping to put gas in Soler's Ford Mustang. An SUV then pulls up, and a gunman is seen forcing Soler out of the car before shooting the couple.

During her opening statements Wednesday, assistant state attorney Alejandra Lopez said Ellington and two accomplices had just committed another gas station robbery.

After showing jurors the video, she then presented what she said was the motive for Ellington to kill the couple.

"(Soler) didn't look scared enough," she said.

Ellington's attorney said his client was intimidated by police into a confession with his mother present. Herbert Smith told jurors they will be angry and want justice.

"But you cannot let it affect your assignment of legal guilt, of legal responsibility," Smith said.

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