Molestation case to be retried after Sutter jury deadlocked
Sutter County prosecutors said Wednesday they plan to retry Michael Tomas Armistead, a former Yuba City man accused of molesting two relatives nearly a decade ago.
"He dodged a bullet," Deputy District Attorney Anu Chopra said. "We're absolutely going to trial again."
Sutter County jurors deadlocked Tuesday on four felony counts. The jury voted 11-1 to acquit on three counts, but 9-3 to convict on the other, authorities said.
Chopra said Wednesday she was still uncertain if she would refile all or only part of the charges against the 44-year-old ex-Sutter County resident.
Armistead's attorney, Craig Leri, was disappointed with the news, but remained confident in his client's case.
"They can retry (the case) until the cows come home, they're not going to get a conviction," Leri said.
Leri has questioned the credibility of both alleged victims and pointed to what he said were inconsistencies in their stories. He has also criticized the pretrial investigation. "When you have three counts of 11-1 for acquittal, it does not bode well for them to refile and try to bootstrap prejudice to try to convict on one count," Leri said.
Chopra disagreed with Leri's assessment. The prosecutor said most jurors believed the victims, but felt they needed more evidence to convict.
Judge H. Ted Hansen on Tuesday denied a defense motion requesting Armistead's release from jail.
Bail, however, was instated in the case at $250,000, which Chopra said is more than double the typical amount for the charges filed.
Armistead was still in custody Wednesday at the Sutter County Jail. He is due back in court next Wednesday.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.