WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The trial of a suspected thief charged with injuring an off-duty police officer while trying to make his getaway ended in mistrial Wednesday after jurors could not reach a verdict.
A 19th State District Court jury of six men and six women deliberated seven hours before telling Judge Thomas West for a third time that they were hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Andre Duane Boyd, 48, of Austin, represented himself during the three day trial with the assistance of stand-by attorney Alan Bennett and investigator Ed McElyea.
Boyd, a lifelong criminal who has been jailed 956 days, likely will remain in custody until his retrial, which was not set Wednesday.
Boyd was on trial on aggravated robbery and aggravated assault against a peace officer charges in an Aug. 18, 2019, incident at Richland Mall in Waco. Boyd is charged with injuring Precinct 5 Deputy Constable Roy Luna, a former Waco and Texas State Technical College officer who was working security at Dillard’s that day, while trying to elude the officer after Luna spotted Boyd carrying almost $800 worth of clothing out of Dillard’s.
“Mr. Boyd is very much appreciative of the jury’s thoughtful deliberations and careful attention to the evidence,” Bennett said after the mistrial was declared.
Prosecutors Will Gray and Duncan Widman declined comment after the mistrial. They played surveillance video from the store, officers’ body cameras and customers’ phones that showed most of the incident, including Boyd carrying the clothes, Luna trying to get him to return to the store, Boyd getting into his Chevrolet Tahoe and running into five cars and pinning the officer’s leg between the door and the frame when he hit a parked van.
Video also captured Boyd, who has at least a dozen previous felony convictions, telling paramedics he used crack cocaine and methamphetamine that day and officers pulling Dillard’s bags from Boyd’s pants and a backpack in the Tahoe.
The jury first told West that it was deadlocked in a note after 4 1/2 hours of deliberations. The judge instructed the jury to continue deliberating, while the prosecutors and Boyd talked briefly about ending the stalemate with a plea bargain. Boyd rejected a 20-year deal before trial and told prosecutors he might be willing to consider a plea deal for three or five years. The prosecutors walked away.
The jury reported it was deadlocked again an hour later, and West asked how the panel stood numerically on the two counts. The foreman said the jury was split 9-3 on Count 1 and 8-4 on Count 2. West told them to continue deliberating and declared a mistrial 90 minutes later.
In between, the jury sent notes asking for the legal definitions of voluntary conduct and involuntary conduct.
Boyd, who did not testify, claimed that after Luna shocked him with a stun gun after he climbed into the Tahoe, perhaps as many as four or five times, that he was “Tased and dazed” and unable to voluntarily control his actions. He told jurors that if he was not in control of his actions, he could not have committed an intentional or reckless act.
Boyd became emotional several times during his closing statements, calling the incident a “horrible, regrettable accident.” He admitted he probably should have returned to the store with Luna but said his reaction to the stun gun rendered him incapable of committing a voluntary act.
“I was not aware of my actions after I was Tased,” Boyd said. “Honestly, I am so, so sorry. It was not my intent to injure Mr. Luna. But this has affected me, too. It has changed my life. It has changed my life,” an emotional Boyd said, wiping tears from his eyes.
Gray and Widman told jurors in closing statements that Boyd was in total control when he stole the clothes, when he walked outside, put the key in the ignition and backed up, endangering Luna’s life and those of shoppers in the parking lot. If he was affected by the stun gun, it was only temporary, they said.
Boyd is charged as a habitual criminal and faced a minimum of 25 years in prison up to life if convicted. Court records show Boyd has felony convictions in several counties for burglary of a habitation, four convictions for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, four convictions for theft, two convictions for burglary of building and one for burglary of a motor vehicle.
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