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Now what? Mistrial in David Temple's punishment phase

A new jury will have to be picked and will listen to all the evidence again. Then they’ll decide if Temple gets between 10 to 99 years.

HOUSTON — The same jury that found David Temple guilty of murder this week was unable to agree on his punishment, causing Judge Kelli Johnson to declare a mistrial in the punishment phase.

Lawyers on both sides say they couldn’t recall this ever happening in their careers.

RELATED: Mistrial declared in punishment phase of David Temple murder trial

The jurors sent out a note Friday morning that said: "Judge, two jurors won't cooperate. What should we do?"

Judge Johnson brought the jurors into the courtroom to read an Allen charge, which is used to try to break a deadlock. She told jurors if they can't agree on a verdict, Temple's conviction would hold, but a new trial would be necessary to sentence him.

When the jurors still couldn’t agree, the judge declared a mistrial.

It was a move that frustrated Belinda Temple’s family and friends, according to Andy Kahn, victims' advocate with Crime Stoppers and spokesperson for the family. However, it’s a move a jury has every right to make.

“A system only works if the jurors are strong and hold out based on their beliefs and convictions,” said KHOU 11 legal analyst Gerald Treece. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t need 12. You have a diverse community with 12 and it requires unanimity. All 12. All of them.”

So what’s next?

A new jury will have to be picked and will listen to all the evidence again. Then they’ll decide if Temple gets between 10 to 99 years.

On Friday, Temple’s lawyer, Stanley Schneider, said the jury was reportedly all over the board with what they thought was a reasonable punishment.

Judge Johnson thinks the new sentencing trial will begin in March 2020. Both the defense and prosecution believe the next jury will be from Harris County.

It’s currently unclear where David Temple will spend the months in-between but Schneider hopes his client will be granted bond.

“Under the law, in the Constitution of Texas, he is entitled to bail because he has not been finally convicted of anything.”

Treece explains that a final conviction is a decision of guilt plus an agreement on sentencing.

The judge plans to set a bond hearing next week and Kahn plans to attend to send a message.

“Trust me, I will make sure that courtroom is packed with members of Parents of Murdered Children and all victim advocates," he said.

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