On Friday, 10 days after the jury was selected, the judge declared a mistrial in the murder case against Michael Colucci, meaning his murder charge is still pending and the case will have to be tried a second time.
The jury deliberated for about five hours on Thursday and for nearly three hours on Friday but remained deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict. Judge Deadra Jefferson declared a mistrial just before noon.
Colucci was accused of strangling his wife with a garden hose in 2015.
Jurors had three options before them: declare Colucci guilty of murder, guilty of voluntary manslaughter or not guilty.
After the decision, one juror discussed the case when he exited the courthouse saying first, prosecutors did not do a good job presenting the evidence, but he said he didn’t believe it was an accident, saying, “You just don’t fall into a hose.”
“I don’t think you’re going to get 12 people to agree on the same thing with this case,” the juror said. “Nobody was going to change their mind; it was just about 50-50.”
The juror said those in the deliberation room were split between not guilty and voluntary man slaughter. He did not mention a guilty of murder verdict.
After the decision, Colucci walked quickly out of the courthouse and did not respond to questions about the decision saying, questions would have to be answered by his attorney Andy Savage.
Colucci is still suspected by law enforcement of killing his wife, Sara-Lynn Colucci, in May of 2015. She was found by paramedics beside a chain link fence with a garden hose wrapped around her neck. The cause of death was found to be asphyxiation but the manner of death could not be determined.
The undetermined manner of death was something that Colucci’s defense stuck to throughout the trial. Colucci’s attorney Andy Savage said a mistrial is upsetting.
“There is a disappointment that a verdict wasn’t reached, you go through all this effort, months and months and months of preparation,” Savage said outside of the courthouse on Friday.
Savage said the manner of death was either an accident or a suicide and a garden hose coiled into a chain-link fence was the ligature.
“Who knows what happened, what I do know is that he didn’t do it,” Savage said. “There is just no evidence, there is nothing, there is no evidence of him taking her life, none,” he said.
“Her DNA is there his isn’t, her hair is there his isn’t, there is nothing.”
Prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office tried to present enough circumstantial evidence to prove Colucci’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
They told the jury that Colucci is guilty of murder and that he strangled Sara with his hands until she died and the garden hose around her neck was used as a ruse.
Neither prosecutor — Assistant Deputy Attorney General Megan Burchstead nor Assistant Attorney General Joel Kozak — would discuss the case after the mistrial, referring any questions to the spokesperson in Columbia.
When reached for comment, the AG’s public information officer Robert Kittle said, “We do plan to try him again, since it is a pending case we don’t plan to comment any further.”
As far as a timeline goes to retry the case Kittle said most times that has a lot to do with scheduling and other dockets so no definitive timeline could be given.
Reporter Jenna-Ley Harrison contributed to this report.