COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the case of a man who admitted to a string of highway shootings -- one of which killed a woman -- but claimed innocence by reason of insanity.
The hung jury came after four full days of deliberations in the trial of Charles McCoy Jr., charged with 12 shootings that terrified Columbus-area commuters over five months in 2003 and 2004.
County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said he would seek to retry McCoy, 29, who could have faced the death penalty if convicted of the most serious charge, aggravated murder, for the one death in the case. Gail Knisley, 62, the only person hit in the shootings, was killed Nov. 25, 2003, as she was being driven to a doctor's appointment.
Earlier in the day, jurors told Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider they voted twice on the issue of insanity and could not reach a unanimous decision. He ordered them to continue work -- leaving two of the jurors with tears in their eyes -- but sent them home about an hour later when the panel had again reached an impasse.
''We have no indication at this time that this will change," jurors told the court in a note read by the judge.
The jurors, who were first summoned April 8 and heard eight days of testimony, were escorted out of the courthouse at their request and did not comment.
McCoy, who displayed no emotion through most of the trial, stared straight ahead as jurors were dismissed. Earlier in the case, he cried when his parents testified about the start of his mental illness.
Juror Bobby Collins, a retired police officer, said he was ''very disappointed" when reached later by telephone. He declined to discuss deliberations. ''There will be another trial, and I don't want to taint that."
The defense admitted that McCoy was responsible for the shootings, as well as about 200 acts of vandalism involving dropping lumber and bags of concrete mix off of overpasses. But his attorneys insisted that he did not understand his actions were wrong because he suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, McCoy would be committed to a mental hospital until a judge ruled he was no longer a danger.
''We are extremely disappointed in the outcome," said Knisley's son Brent, reading a statement by phone. ''If there's another trial and another trial and another trial, we will still be there."
McCoy's father, Charles McCoy Sr., thanked the jury for its work and said his family's thoughts were with his son and the Knisley family.
The case focused on two psychiatrists who disagreed about whether McCoy met the legal definition of insanity: that a severe mental illness prevented him from knowing right from wrong.