Rejecting defense claims that another trial would be unfair, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that Virl H. Earles must be retried for involuntary manslaughter in a 1984 boat crash that killed five people.
Although a jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal last month in the case, Judge Jean Rheinheimer said in court Friday that retrials are not unprecedented in such circumstances. Without commenting directly on the merits of the prosecution's case, she said the evidence did not merit "me interfering with that (a retrial)."
Rheinheimer rejected defense attorney Gary Pohlson's request that she consider dismissing the charges "in the interest of justice."
Earles was ordered to appear before Superior Judge Luis A. Cardenas for retrial on May 12.
During Friday's hearing, Pohlson argued the case should be dropped because the first trial almost ended in acquittal, the crime was unintentional and Earles continually suffers feelings of guilt about his five dead friends.
Calls Retrial Justified
But Deputy Dist. Atty. John Conley argued that a retrial was justified because Earles' conduct had left five people dead. Conley said also that Earles, unlike some suspects who are incarcerated only to be found not guilty later, has not had to stay in jail and suffer.