CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A waste of time! That's what a Chesterfield County judge told jurors after declaring a mistrial in the case of a former Virginia State Police captain accused of child sex crimes. The prosecution has yet to decide whether to try Edward Hope Junior for a second time.
The judge was visibly angry with the jurors after finding out three of them weren't honest during jury selection. This all came to light after two days of testimony and more than three hours of deliberations.
In a rush to get away from media cameras, Hope, flanked by supporters, left court a free man. Moments earlier, a judge declared a mistrial and told jurors they wasted everyone's time.
"I think frankly everybody's very disappointed. It was a hard fought trial and both sides are deeply invested emotionally in it and the result was not what any of us wanted," said Hope's attorney Craig Cooley.
Hope is accused of sexually abusing a girl, now 13, for three years beginning in 2003. The girl told jurors Monday she wanted Hope to go to prison. When Hope took the stand, he reportedly denied engaging in any type of sexual act with the girl.
Jurors deliberated more than three hours before sending a note to the judge about not being able to reach a verdict. Three had been dishonest during jury selection.
"One juror had been in a slightly similar situation where they had been accused and questioned, and one juror's wife had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child," said Prosecutor Duncan Minton.
A third juror said they knew the former state police captain had been taken away from his job in handcuffs last January. The prosecutor says a decision to retry Hope hinges on whether the victim wants to.
"Basically she's going to have to go through the whole ordeal again, so we need to know if that's right for her," said Minton.
Minton says he'll meet with the victim and her family in the next week to discuss a retrial. Hope remains free on $100,000 bond.