COLUMBUS, Ohio — A judge declared a mistrial Sunday in the case of a man who admitted to a string of highway shootings -- one of which killed a woman -- but who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
The hung jury came after four days of deliberations in the trial of Charles McCoy Jr., charged with 12 shootings that terrified Columbus-area commuters over five months in 2003 and 2004.
Earlier in the day, jurors told Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider that they voted twice on the issue of insanity and could not reach a unanimous decision. He ordered them to continue work -- leaving two of the jurors with tears in their eyes -- but sent them home about an hour later when the panel again reached an impasse.
The jurors, who heard eight days of testimony, were escorted out of the courthouse at their request.
The defense admitted McCoy was behind the shootings, as well as about 200 acts of vandalism involving dropping lumber and bags of concrete mix off of overpasses. But his lawyers said he did not know his actions were wrong because he had untreated paranoid schizophrenia.
County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said he would retry McCoy, 29, who could have faced the death penalty if convicted of the most serious charge, aggravated murder, for the one death in the case. Gail Knisley, 62, was killed Nov. 25, 2003, as she was being driven to a doctor's appointment.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, McCoy would have been committed to a mental hospital until a judge ruled he was no longer a danger.
The case focused on two psychiatrists who disagreed on whether McCoy met the legal definition of insanity: that a mental illness prevented him from knowing right from wrong.