Mistrial declared in Kareem Lane murder trial

jmustian@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 19, 2012 

Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters declared a mistrial this afternoon in the murder trial of Kareem Lane, citing a hung jury.

Jurors deliberated for three full days without coming to a consensus. The vote was 10-2, with only two voting for guilty, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Stacey Jackson called the outcome a "cautious victory," and said he would pursue a recognizance bond for his client Thursday morning. Prosecutors will request a bond higher than that, but it's not clear what amount they're seeking.

Lane, 37, of Pell City, Ala., had been charged in the 1992 fatal stabbing of former Muscogee County School District Superintendent Jim Burns after authorities learned Lane couldn’t be excluded from a mixed DNA profile drawn from the knife that stabbed Burns.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether prosecutors would try the case again.

Prosecutors had called witnesses who testified they saw Lane’s pickup parked suspiciously just around the corner from Burns’ home about the time of the stabbing. Police questioned Lane the night of the stabbing and found an empty knife sheath in his pickup that prosecutors said fit the murder weapon.

Lane, who was a 17-year-old high school student at the time of the murder, had been released after spending about 12 hours in investigative detention when detectives concluded they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.

Lane did not testify in his own defense and called just one witness, a California DNA expert who underlined the uncertainty of the mixed DNA profile.

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