A Mississippi judge declared a mistrial on Thursday in a case involving two white men accused of chasing and shooting at a black FedEx driver who was making a delivery. The judge cited police errors as the driving force behind the determination.
Gregory Case and his son, Brandon Case, were charged with attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy, and shooting into a vehicle driven by D'Monterrio Gibson in January 2022. While Gibson was not injured in the incident that took place in Brookhaven, NPR reported there were accusations of racism that surfaced on social media.
Judge David Strong said he decided on the mistrial after he discovered errors made by a detective for the Brookhaven Police Department. Strong brought the session to a close early on Wednesday after Detective Vincent Fernando admitted under oath, while the jury was out of the courtroom, that he had failed to give prosecutors or the defense a videotaped statement the police had taken from Gibson.
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Strong also noted the officer had inaccurately testified about firearms found in the home of one of the men on trial. There were also shell casings recovered outside the home. The defense attorneys had requested the mistrial, which Strong said he had no choice but to grant.
"In 17 years, I don't think I've seen it," Strong said of the errors.
Gibson's mother, Sharon McClendon, shouted an expletive after the determination. She and her son refused to speak to reporters after they left the courtroom.
"A mistrial represents not just an administrative setback but also a delay in justice for Mr. Gibson and his family," Carlos Moore, Gibson's attorney, said. Moore added that it was "concerning that BPD withheld a potentially crucial piece of evidence." He went on to say the department withholding evidence "necessitated a mistrial," per CNN.
"We remain committed to seeking justice for D'Monterrio Gibson and ensuring that the legal process is fair, transparent, and accountable," Moore said.
Gibson said the mistrial decision was "definitely disappointing and frustrating," adding that he was certain the case would be set for a new trial. He noted his team intends to file multiple civil lawsuits in the case.
Moore was not convinced that withholding evidence was an innocent mistake. "I believe this was dilatory, a delay tactic, because they have always been on the side of the Cases," he said.
Moore has also called for the Justice Department to bring federal hate crime charges against the Cases. However, the defense attorneys said the father and son attempted to stop Gibson after he was seen driving a rental vehicle with Florida license plates. The two apparently wanted to know who was driving near a family home at night.
The incident between Gibson and the Cases happened on January 24, 2022, when Gibson was driving a Hertz fan to deliver packages. When Gibson dropped a delivery off at a home on a dead-end public road, Gregory Case reportedly used a truck to block the van from leaving. That is when Brandon stepped outside with a firearm in hand.
When Gibson drove around the truck, attempting to leave, three shots were fired. The shots hit the van and some of the packages inside, but Gibson escaped unharmed.
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