Prosecutor: Mistrial judge '13th juror'

Aug. 18, 2010 at 4:09 PM
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DETROIT, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A prosecutor has blasted a judge's decision to declare a mistrial for a Detroit homeowner who shot and killed a man he said was trying to break into his house.

Tigh Croff's trial on a manslaughter charge ended Tuesday when the judge declared the jury unable to agree on a verdict, the Detroit Free Press reported. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Molly Kettler objected to Circuit Judge Michael Hathaway's decision.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Hathaway should not have reduced the charge in the case from second-degree murder to manslaughter and was premature in ending deliberations.

"We maintain that the judge attempted to insert himself as the 13th juror," Worthy said. "That is not the judge's role. In doing so, he confused the jury."

A conference is scheduled Aug. 30 to set up a schedule for a retrial.

In a statement to police, Croff said he caught the victim, Herbert Silas, 53, and another man trying to break into his house. He said he pursued the pair until Silas stopped, raised his hands and turned around.

I told him he was going to die, and I shot him," Croff said.

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