Judge denies Weisheit defense's motion for mistrial - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Judge denies Weisheit defense's motion for mistrial

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The Judge in the high profile trial of Jeffrey Weisheit has denied the defense's motion for a mistrial after a another juror was removed.

The trial continued Thursday in Jeffersonville for the man accused of arson and murder in the deaths of his girlfriend's two young children in Vanderburgh County.

Officials tell us the second juror was removed Thursday night after writing his wife a letter thanking her for cookies.

Friday, the only witness the defense called was the lead detective on case, Carrie Blessinger from Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office.

Blessinger testified that while interviewing Weisheit in the hospital after the fire, she thought he was faking, or picking and choosing his answers. She testified that in the hospital Weisheit would close his eyes and pretend to fall asleep when it came to questions about the fire.

Blessinger said based on her investigation, she believes Weisheit started the fire and has eliminated all other suspects.

The jury was then dismissed for weekend due to motion the defense filed yesterday asking for a mistrial. Court officials say it had to do with a note brought in by a juror's relative. That juror was removed and replaced by an alternate.

The trial will resume Monday at 9 a.m. with closing arguments planned for Tuesday afternoon.

On Thursday, the State rested its case in the death penalty prosecution against Jeffrey Weisheit, charged with murder by fire of Alyssa and Caleb Lynch in Evansville in April of 2010.

The day in court Thursday began with a motion for mistrial by the Defense relating to a note brought in by a juror's relative. Defense claimed that juror's conduct impacted the process of the trial and that a mistrial should be declared.

Circuit Court Judge Dan Moore denied the motion after hearing arguments from both sides, but allowed them the chance to re-argue it before trial breaks for the weekend at noon on Friday.

Judge Moore, on his own motion, and after the remaining were questioned individually, removed the juror whose relative wrote the note and substituted and alternate in that seat.

Also, a notice was given by the prosecution to possibly call a previously unlisted witness who claimed to be Weisheit's cell mate a the Vanderburgh County Jail. By the close of the Court's day it was determined that the jail house witness would not be called by the prosecution.

The jury heard testimony from a dental forensic pathologist who aided in the identification of the charred bodies of the children. She described her procedure in evaluating the duct tape placed on one of the children's mouth and hands. Dr. Griggs, a forensic pathologist who performed both autopsies, provided testimony as to his method and examination of the remains. His professional conclusion was that the children's deaths were caused by  homicide and the manner of their deaths was asphyxiation due to inhaling debris and soot from the fire as the house burned.

The Defense began its presentation of witnesses as the afternoon closed, calling an employee of the Vanderburgh County Coroner's Office who testified as to his work at the fire scene and at the Coroner's examination room in Evansville.

The trial resumes on Friday morning. Judge Moore directed lawyers to provide him with legal authorities to support their positions on the mistrial issue and indicated he would issue a ruling before noon on Friday. 

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