Murder victim's father speaks out after mistrial

By Laura Geller - bio | email

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) – It's been almost a week since a Richmond jury couldn't reach a decision in the murder trial of James Taylor. The 18-year-old is accused of killing Billy Ennis, who was hit by a stray bullet as he was driving down Belvidere Street. One week hasn't eased Ennis' family's pain and now they'll have to go through another trial this spring.

The word mistrial is no longer a legal term for the Ennis family. It has taken on a new, more personal meaning, a delay in any sense of closure for a tragic chapter in their lives.

"I just wanted the trial to be over with and let us go on with our life," said Billy's father Bill Ennis. "Our life was destroyed."

Ennis told NBC12 a trial is different when it involves your own family. It was heart-wrenching to go to court each day and face the 18-year-old being prosecuted for his son's death. So difficult, Billy's mom could only sit through the first day of testimony.

We've just learned the final jury vote was 9 to 3 in favor of conviction. Jurors could not reach a unanimous decision.

Prosecutors told us it may have been difficult for the panel to convict an 18-year-old of crimes that would have put him away for most of his life.

"Maybe they thought of their son or their grandson or something like that," Ennis wondered.

After losing his only child who was simply a victim of circumstance, he explained that was a slap in the face.

"They didn't take into consideration my son at all," he said. "My son is gone. He was gone in a split second."

Ennis admitted he was shocked when Taylor took the stand during the two day trial and denied any involvement in the shooting. He said that will be difficult to sit through again.

"It'll be a little harder this time and I'll be there every minute."

James Taylor's mother wasn't up for talking with us after the trial. We reached out to her Wednesday as well, but never heard back.

Early next month, we should find out a date for Taylor's retrial. Attorneys for both sides expect that case to go to court again this spring

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