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Mistrial declared in case against man whose murder conviction was dismissed after 16 years in prison

Mistrial declared in case against man whose murder conviction was dismissed after 16 years in prison
Reggie Cole covers his face while he listens to testimony in a Compton court.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A Compton jury was deadlocked Tuesday on charges of mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon against a man who spent 16 years in prison before his murder conviction was dismissed.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge declared a mistrial in the case against Reggie Cole, 42, who is charged with mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors accused him of shooting a fellow gang member in the leg for refusing to sell cocaine for Cole.

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Cole was released in 2011 after serving 16 years of a life sentence for a 1994 South Los Angeles murder. Cole was featured in an article in The Times on Sunday.

Judge Allen J. Webster declared a mistrial after the jury's foreman reported Tuesday afternoon that they were unable to reach a verdict after more than two days of deliberations.

The vote was 9 to 3 in favor of conviction on both the mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon charges, the foreman said.

Because of the article in The Times, the judge questioned the jurors Monday as to whether they saw, read or heard about any news reports about the case over the weekend. Each juror told the judge no.

Prosecutors intend to retry the case. A trial date was set for mid-June. If convicted, Cole faces a life sentence in prison.

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