A Hennepin County District Court jury declared itself "hopelessly deadlocked" Thursday in the murder case against Isai Flores, who is accused of driving the car while his friend fatally shot the driver of another car on Interstate 94 in December 2006.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Andrew LeFevour said prosecutors "absolutely" intend to retry the case. A meeting with prosecutors, defense lawyer Philip Leavenworth and District Judge Toddrick Barnette is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The jury began deliberations Tuesday afternoon and signaled a deadlock Wednesday, but Barnette sent them back to continue talking.
By mid-morning Thursday, the panel sent a four-page note to the judge saying that jurors were more deeply entrenched in their positions and that a verdict was not possible. Jurors declined to comment as they left the courthouse.
Pedro Marcelino Simon died in January 2007, a month after he was shot by Jorge A. Quijada, 26, from Flores' car in Brooklyn Center.
Simon, 24, had no gang affiliation and didn't know Quijada. But Quijada, who testified that he was on a drinking binge and lacked sleep at the time, fired twice at Simon with a .40-caliber Beretta after he laughed off the gang signs Quijada flashed out the window. Quijada pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May and was sentenced to more than 32 years in prison.
Flores, 21, who took the stand in his own defense, claimed that he didn't know what Quijada was doing that day, that he was merely driving the car.
He remains in custody and charged with first-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting a drive-by shooting.
Leavenworth had not spoken with jurors but said, "It really comes down to a question of intent: Did Mr. Flores intend to assist his friend, aiding and abetting him?" Leavenworth said his client has been unwavering in his assertion that he did not.
Quijada is a Sureños 13 gang member. Flores testified he is not a member of a gang, but he did admit to buying guns illegally. He also provided Quijada with two guns, including the one used to kill Simon.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747