HOUSTON The latest chapter in what investigators have called a complicated murder-for-hire plot against a Bellaire socialite ended in mistrial Friday, with a Houston jury unable to reach a verdict in the attempted capital murder trial of Damian Flores.
A juror, who spoke out shortly after the mistrial was declared, said jurors were hopelessly deadlocked.
We were only ably to turn one juror after six hours of deliberations, said Damon Victor. We tried to go over the evidence again and again, but it just wasn't enough.
Victor was among the six jurors who voted to convict. The other six voted not guilty.
Prosecutors said Flores shot socialite Yvonne Stern in the stomach in May of last year the last of three attempts on her life.
Flores is one of six people including Stern s husband who were charged in the case.
Jeffrey Stern and his mistress, Michelle Gaiser, were both charged with solicitation of capital murder.
But while Jeffrey Stern has maintained his innocence, Gaiser pleaded guilty to the charges. She testified in Flores trial, as part of a deal with prosecutors that caps her sentence at 25 years, rather than life in prison.
Gaiser tearfully told jurors that she hired Flores to kill Yvonne Stern in exchange for $40,000.
I m sorry for what happened to her, Gaiser cried. I know I have to go to prison. I did something wrong. I know I have to go to prison.
Gaiser said Flores was supposed to go over to the apartment where Yvonne Stern had been living with her kids and do his job.
The socialite had moved to the apartment after two previous attempts on her life at her home in Bellaire.
Flores defense attorney, Sam Cammack, tried to discredit Gaiser s testimony, saying she is a liar.
She s a liar and she s lying about Flores, said Cammack. I just think at the end of the day, the jury is going to decide what exactly Michelle Gaiser is: a killer, a liar, so I m going to let the testimony speak for itself.
In the end, it was enough to convince six members of the jury that Flores was not guilty. The other six, however, felt he was.
It was not immediately clear if Flores will be tried again.
Meanwhile, Yvonne Stern is still standing by her man.
Though she initially filed for divorce after she was shot, she and Jeffrey Stern have since reconciled.
I just want to say I love my husband, said Stern as she left the courtroom earlier this week, walking hand in hand with Jeffrey Stern. I believe in him whole heartedly of his innocence. He has nothing to do with this. He couldn t have done anything like this. We are victims of a fatal attraction and I look forward to them prosecuting the proper people.
Jeffrey Stern s trial is set for February. It was not yet clear if Gaiser will testify.
Nhut Nguyen, another of the six people accused in the plot, pleaded guilty in August to aggravated assault.
Two other defendants, James Lowery and Richard Gutierrez, were also charged with solicitation of capital murder but have yet to go to trial.