San Diego

Jury Deadlocks on All Counts Against Former Navy Commander Accused of Rape

A judge declared a mistrial Monday in a retrial of a former U.S. Navy commander accused of rape after the jury deadlocked on all counts.

Commander John M. Neuhart faced a new jury in the second trial, and a different judge, in a case involving five criminal charges.

The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on three major counts, returning the following votes:

Seven to five in favor of guilty on count 1, assault with intent to rape during the commission of first-degree burglary, 10-2 in favor of guilty on count 3, attempted rape, and 2-10 in favor of not guilty on count 5, resisting or delaying an officer.

The jury did not return a vote on counts two and four, because they were lesser offenses.

Neuhart’s first trial last December ended with the jury hung 11-1 for conviction on the alleged sex crimes.

That first jury also failed to reach a unanimous verdict on felony assault and burglary charges.

Neuhart's attorney, Kerry Armstrong, recruited a DNA expert and a psychologist who did not testify in the first trial. 

Prosecutor Jennifer Tag also used a new expert witness, who rebutted aspects of Neuhart's testimony. 

Neuhart testified on his own behalf in the new trial, as he did in the first trial.

Legal expert Anthony Colombo said both attorneys have had time to focus their presentations and benefited from their study of transcripts from the first trial.

Colombo said the prosecutor had the advantage of closely reviewing Neuhart’s testimony and developing tough questions to test his credibility.

He also said both attorneys have undoubtedly talked with jurors from the first trial, and learned valuable information about what evidence, testimony and arguments resonated most with the panel.

Colombo also said the defense attorney would have gained important insight from the lone hold-out for acquittal, if that juror talked with the defense after the first trial.

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