After less than two days of deliberation, a Boulder County jury convicted Charles "Eddy" Waters of first-degree assault Tuesday, but was unable to reach a verdict on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder brought in connection with the stabbing of two homeless men in 2011.
Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill declared a mistrial due to a hung jury on the latter two charges following about 12 hours of deliberation.
Juror Jennifer McVey said the jury reached its decision fairly easily on the first-degree assault charge, but that the 12 jurors were split 3-to-1 on the two more serious counts. Fellow juror Emily Cederburg said the main issue the jury could not agree on was whether Waters was acting in self-defense when he stabbed the two men.
While McVey and Cederburg said they had different opinions on the case, they agreed the jury was deadlocked and additional deliberation wouldn't have yielded a verdict.
"Nothing would have changed," McVey said.
Prosecutors said that Waters, 57, stabbed two other homeless men in an abandoned shed in the 3100 block of Pearl Parkway in October 2011. Johnny Rasnick, 43, suffered a stab wound to his abdomen and died in surgery at Boulder Community Hospital while Michael Giampino, 29, suffered a punctured lung and a laceration to his face.
The prosecution told the jury that Waters was angry with Rasnick after he humiliated him in a wrestling match they had earlier that night.
Waters' attorneys argued that he was the one who was jumped by Rasnick and Giampino and that he was merely defending himself. Following the mistrial, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said he will review the case before deciding a course of action.
"I will meet with the lawyers who tried the case and police who worked the case as well as get input from the victims and make a decision if it's an appropriate use of office resources to retry the two charges the jury did not reach a verdict on," Garnett said. "The jury worked really hard, this was a very complex and nuanced set of facts and we will review all of that and see if there is anything to be gained by retrying the charges."
Garnett said that while he typically likes to retry cases after mistrials, the fact that Waters was convicted of first-degree assault and will serve at a mandatory 10 to 32 years in prison may influence his decision.
"Generally my policy is if it is worth trying once, it's worth trying twice," Garnett said. "But in this case we got a conviction on a pretty serious charge, so it my not be in the interest of justice to retry the cases where the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict."
Waters, 57, was returned to the Boulder County Jail following the verdict. He is due back in court Dec. 21 for a status conference, at which point the prosecution may decide whether to pursue a retrial or schedule a sentencing hearing on the assault charge.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.