A judge declared a mistrial for the murder of a woman who was killed while someone was trying to steal jewelry from her home in 2014. “It felt like defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. We were so close,” said Ed Watt, a family friend of Kathy Blair.
“We’re very disappointed of course a lot of work has gone into this case to go to trial it’s been several years in the making but the jurors that voted guilty were very confident in that vote and this will go to retrial,” explained Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.
Since the jury was handed this case.. there were three motions for a mistrial. The mistrial in convicting Shawn Grant-Benalcazar of capital murder was granted on the third and final motion.
This after a chambers hearing Thursday night.
“To this be so close to that and then to have it snatched away is so difficult but we will get there.”
One juror said she has reasonable doubt Benalcazar is not guilty because she disagrees with the law that allows police to lie to suspects. Eleven jurors voted guilty. In the chambers hearing, they were discussing should they let that juror stay? Replace her? Or declare a mistrial.
“There were some still on the fence and by day two they had moved over a little bit but we still had one hold out of not guilty and it just became contentious and difficult,” explained Mary Wenzel, one of the jurors in the capitol murder trial.
This juror was the forewoman who told the judge about the other juror who was convinced the verdict should be not guilty. “So much of the confession that he made in, Galveston matched up with facts that were corroborated at the scene at the crime that we felt we didn’t think he could have known much detail about the murder without having been there.”
The family says no matter what they are still convinced they know who Kathy’s murderer is.
“There’s nothing that’s going to bring Kathy back but her life was taken prematurely by who we believe is Shawn Gant-Benalcazar.” According to District Attorney Margaret Moore, it may take a few months to get the retrial back on the docket.