Crime

Hung jury results in mistrial in fatal Boise hit-and-run case

Jurors were unable to decide whether Gavin Haley failed to fulfill his legal obligation to summon help and notify police after fatally striking bicyclist Victor Haskell in 2013.

The jury was unable to decide Friday whether to acquit or convict Haley of leaving the scene of an injury accident. Jurors deliberated for about eight and a half hours before notifying Senior Judge Renae Hoff they were hopelessly deadlocked. To reach a verdict, the 12 jurors needed to reach a unanimous decision.

Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Scott Bandy was given until June 24 to decide whether to refile charges. Generally, defendants cannot be tried twice for the same crime, but an exception to double jeopardy restrictions applies when a jury is deadlocked.

“It was a tough case for them, for a jury to meet the elements of what the state had to prove,” defense attorney Jon Cox said. “What they had to prove was that he knew or he had reason to know — not that he should have known” that he struck someone.

The jury heard three days of testimony.

Haskell, 53, was riding his bicycle back home to Garden City after getting off work as a dishwasher at a Boise restaurant when he was struck on State Street at 30th Street in the early morning of Sept. 27, 2013.

Bandy contended Haley, now 31, knew he struck something but did not investigate to see if he struck a person and did not notify police. The defense said Haley stopped his vehicle and looked around but could not see anything in the dark and rainy conditions.

Cox said he believes the jury had a hard time deciding whether his client was guilty when construction workers, a police officer patrolling in the area and other passersby did not notice Haskell’s body the next morning in the daylight.

Authorities believe Haskell was riding on the sidewalk but went into the street as he approached a construction zone where the sidewalk was blocked. He was struck 41 feet before the construction zone, where a series of plastic orange barrels in the street marked the zone.

The prosecution contended Haskell was struck directly from behind. The defense claimed Haskell’s bicycle was pointed slightly left when it was struck, suggesting Haskell was riding into the path of Haley’s SUV.

Haley, a chef at a Boise restaurant, had finished work and gone to a bar, where he drank three beers, before he drove home.

Haskell’s body was found eight hours later, after it was light, several feet from the road in a small hole caused by the sidewalk construction.

Haley turned himself in the next day, after police issued bulletins saying they were looking for the driver of a dark Land Rover SUV.

During deliberations, jurors sent two notes to the judge. In the first, submitted about four and a half hours after they retired to the jury room, the jurors asked if they could review a copy of Haley’s phone records. Prosecutors had detailed a series of phone calls Haley placed after the incident. The judge did not allow them to review the records from Haley’s cell phone provider.

In the second note, submitted after 6 p.m., jurors asked how late they could continue to deliberate. Hoff said they could continue as long as they felt discussions were productive.

The jury notified Hoff about an hour later that they could not reach a decision.

“These attorneys tried a great case, and that’s one of the reasons I’m sure it made it more difficult for you to come to a unanimous decision,” Hoff told jurors before thanking them for their service and dismissing them.

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