PORT ORCHARD - A jury that heard the murder and manslaughter case against Henry Paul Musgrove III has deadlocked, prompting Judge Anna M. Laurie to declare a mistrial on two of the counts.
Musgrove, accused of killing his wife's 23-month-old daughter in his Port Orchard apartment in 2008, was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the case on Wednesday afternoon. But the deliberations over the first- and second-degree manslaughter charges resulted in a hung jury, prompting the declaration of a mistrial and the setting of new dates for the trial on the manslaughter counts. That trial will begin on Dec. 6.
Jurors in the case told Laurie they were unable to come to consensus on the two counts of manslaughter after deliberating for 15 hours. They said they did not believe they would be able to reach a decision within a reasonable amount of time.
Attorneys for both sides agreed the jurors should not be forced to continue deliberations. When the mistrial was declared, prosecuting attorney Chad Enright requested a new trial date to pursue the manslaughter charges.
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"The jury was out a long time," Enright said. "We will respect the decision of the jury. This is a tough case."
Defense attorney Bill Houser said he too appreciated the time spent and hard work of the jury.
"It was a case that was worth deliberating," Houser said. "I look forward to retrying the case. We believe we can defend this again on Dec. 6."
When Musgrove heard the not guilty verdict he took off his glasses and held his hands to his face, crying at the news. He looked to his grandparents sitting in the pew behind him, offering them a little smile. His grandmother, also overcome with emotion, was crying. Longtime family friend Donna Inkpen wrapped her arms around the woman.
The decision was bittersweet for the family.
"We were hoping to bring him home," Inkpen said.
The family was happy with the not guilty verdict and they expect the same verdict at the next trial, she said.
After the jury was dismissed Musgrove was taken back to jail, where he'll remain until his next status hearing, scheduled for Oct. 28. Houser said he plans to ask that his client's bail be reduced at that hearing so that he could return home.