A Los Angeles Superior Court judge declared a mistrial Tuesday after a jury deadlocked in deliberating the fate of a 31-year-old man accused of kidnapping a San Marino boy last year and holding him for $1.5 million in ransom.
Judge Lance Ito gave prosecutors until July 12 to decide whether to retry Kei Chang, one of seven people originally charged in the case. The jury, which stood at 9 to 3 in favor of not guilty, could not reach a unanimous decision.
"It's a bittersweet victory, because I would like to have had a unanimous verdict," said Alex Kessel, Chang's attorney. "He [Chang] is happy because a majority favored not guilty, but he's unhappy because he will have to stay in jail awaiting a new trial."
Chang's bail is $1 million.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Marian Thompson could not be reached for comment.
The victim, 3-year-old Ernest Chan, was kidnapped on March 20, 2000, after two masked intruders armed with knives broke into his parents' $1-million home and took him from the housekeeper. The boy was found unharmed two weeks later in an apartment on Duarte Avenue in southeast Los Angeles.