A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the capital murder case of two alleged gang members accused in the "49th Street Massacre" of two boys and a young father in 2006.
The decision came after a jury deadlocked in the case of Charles Ray Smith and Ryan Moore, which sparked community outrage and became a symbol of the long reach of gang violence in South L.A.
The charges were brought against the pair after Los Angeles Police Department detectives concluded that associates of the Rollin' 30s gang fired at the victims -- who had no gang ties -- while driving around looking for members of the Eastside Trece. The suspects, who are black, allegedly fired with two AK-47s on a group of Latinos standing outside a house on 49th Street. The slayings were dubbed the 49th Street Massacre by then-Police Chief William J. Bratton.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Todd Hicks said the jury foreman informed the judge that the panel was split 9 to 3 in favor of convicting Smith, 36, on all but one allegation and was split 7 to 5 in favor of convicting Moore, 40. Special allegations of multiple murder and gang murder could have made them subject to the death penalty.
Hicks said some jurors informed prosecutors afterward that they had questions about the veracity of a key witness, a woman who drove the car carrying the alleged gunmen.
The victims were David Marcial, 10, a fourth-grader at Hooper Elementary School; his uncle, Larry Marcial, 22, a father of two and an aspiring singer of Mexican ballads; and Luis Cervantes, 17, a junior at Johnson High School and a neighbor of the Marcials.
Attorneys for Smith and Moore insisted that their clients were not involved.