A state judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the capital murder case of Frederick Manuel, who prosecutors said shot and killed a clerk at a Southeast convenience store during a January 2011 robbery.
Court officials said the decision came after defense lawyers objected to prejudicial testimony from a lead Austin police investigator, who in response to questions from the state, told jurors that an anonymous tipster had told authorities Manuel had a criminal history, was a drug addict and had recently split with his wife after disputes.
Travis County Judge David Crain scheduled a new trial for Dec. 2.
Manuel, 47, is facing life in prison if convicted of killing Azizali Momin, 41.
In opening statements Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Jim Young told the jury that Manuel was seen on surveillance video wearing a dark blue hooded jacket and a glove on one hand to keep him from leaving fingerprints. But defense lawyers said authorities took evidence swabs of all the items the robber touched with his uncovered hand — and did not find a DNA match to Manuel.
“We were very pleased with the jury we had selected,” said Steve Brittain, one of Manuel’s attorneys. “We were disappointed but these things sometimes happen, and we are ready to try the case again Dec. 2.”
A call to prosecutors had not been returned as of Friday evening.