Judge declares mistrial in sexual contact case

William Thompson

Around 11:45 a.m. Monday, 10th Juducial District Judge Ricky D. Purcell declared a mistrial in the Kyle Evetts case. Evetts faced nine counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor. The jury could not reach a unanimous decision after almost six hours of deliberation. The jury foreman, Russell Feerer, said the jury was fairly evenly split.

“Some jurors voted to convict on some counts while others voted not guilty on those same counts,” said Feerer. “Some jurors who voted not guilty on some counts, voted guilty on others.” Around 10:30 a.m. the judge asked Feerer if any more deliberation were possible. Feerer said he did not think it would be beneficial. The judge, nonetheless, ordered the jury to continue deliberation.
One hour later, the judge once again addressed Feerer in court. “Would any further deliberation be beneficial?” asked Judge Purcell.

“I seriously doubt it,” replied Feerer.
The judge then said the court would declare a mistrial.
Evetts may have to face the same charges again.
Prosecutor Donald Schutte said a new trial will be set.
“The judge will set a new trial within six months,” he said. “It will happen.” Schutte said earlier in the day that the state “reserves the right to retry a case” if a mistrial is declared.
Neither Evetts nor his defense attorney, Hal Greig, wished to comment after the decision. Feerer said a number of jurors felt there was not enough evidence to convict Evetts.
“Some jury members said there seemed to be a lack of concrete evidence,” said Feerer. “They said there was really nothing to get ahold of.”

Feerer said some jurors questioned the validity of dates the complaining witness gave in her testimony.
“Some jurors thought the dates given for the events were a little arbitrary,” said Feerer, “but the question of dates had no real bearing on our deliberations.” Feerer said the jurors who wanted to convict Evetts were persuaded by the complaining witness’ testimony. “They believed what the state’s witnesses said, especially what the complaining witness said.”

The complaining witness offered graphic testimony of alleged sexual abuse that was said to have occurred over a nine-year period during her childhood. Evetts denied all allegations during his testimony. Feerer said the jurors remained level-headed throughout deliberations.
“There were jurors with very strong opinions on both sides,” said Feerer, “but there were no heated arguments. We are all very tired now. This was my first opportunity to be a juror. It was a very enlightening process.” Schutte said he and assistant prosecutor Nancy English will have to regroup.
“We will sit down and debrief and see what changes we need to make in our strategy,” said Schutte. “We are very disappointed that all of us could not reach a conclusion. Nancy and I put in a lot of effort. A long trial like this takes a lot of preparation.”