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Mistrial declared in felony case

FARMINGTON — A mistrial was declared in a felony case after a jury couldn’t come to a verdict last week.

Vincent E. Jackson, 42, of rural Bonne Terre, is charged with the Class D felony of unlawful use of a weapon.

Jurors deliberated two hours before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte declared a mistrial by hung jury. Jurors sent two separate notes to the judge during the two hours asking what to do about an 11 to 1 decision.

During the one-day trial, jurors heard two different stories on what happened that day.

On May 2, 2011, Jackson and a woman got into a dispute over a mobile home on Jackson’s property north of Bonne Terre.

The woman said she was getting some of her property when she heard shots fired toward her. She said she was frightened and believed it was done in a threatening manner.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ben Campbell said both parties agree a gun was fired. However, Jackson claims the gun was fired as target practice. The woman said the gun was fired because she was trying to take a tarp that was in dispute over ownership.

Campbell said he would argue that enough evidence had been exhibited that it was done in an angry and threatening manner. He said even if it was target shooting, he was doing it to intimidate the woman.

Four rounds were missing from the eight-round capacity semi-automatic gun. Campbell said it is very unlikely Jackson decided to target practice and fired just four shots.

“You do that when you are trying to get someone’s attention,” he argued.

However, Jackson’s attorney, Patrick Gill of Clayton, argued that the woman was unstable at the time of the incident and is out for vengeance. He said Jackson was target practicing when he heard the woman scream and stopped.

Campbell pointed out that evidence was never presented during testimony.

Jackson’s attorney pointed out that the woman’s mother who overheard the shots did not put in her police statement that she saw Jackson firing toward her daughter. However, the woman’s mother told jurors she saw him firing shots toward her daughter.

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