9/6/2013 4:51:00 PM Second mistrial declared in Vinton County murder trial of Robert Schall
Robert Schallís attorneys speak with him during a recess before a mistrial was declared. Schall (left) is accused of the October 2011 murder of Eagle Twp. resident 55 year old Michael Hunt. (Photo by Paul McManis)
Paul McManis Commoner-Journal
A second mistrial has been declared in the case of a Highland County man accused of murdering an Eagle Twp. resident and setting his mobile home on fire.
In April, Robert Schall stood trial on seven counts including aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, and aggravated robbery. That trial ended in mistrial after the jury was found to be "hopelessly deadlocked" and unable to reach a verdict.
The charges against Schall came as a result of the Oct. 7, 2011, death of Michael Hunt, 55.
Vinton County Prosecuting Attorney Trecia-Kimes Brown earlier said Schall shot and robbed Hunt before starting a fire in his mobile home and stated his actions display a selfish act.
Thursday, September 5, another mistrial was declared after discussions were held in chambers. The trial got underway just the day before, Wednesday, September 4.
Schall's Defense Attorney Charles Knight said it was the state and the defense that joined together in requesting the mistrial.
"I think the judge made the correct decision at the conclusion of the evidence that there was some problem involving one of the jurors and members of the police department here - sheriff's department," Knight said. "The state joined with us in this request for a mistrial rather than take the risk of contamination."
Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown had no comment immediately following the conclusion of the trial, but is expected to send out a press release concerning the situation.