EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Less than a week after the trial began in the case against Fernando Alarcon, accused of beheading his mother, the judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday, due to issues with the jury.
The jury began deliberations on Tuesday, and after more than eleven hours, Judge Patrick Garcia granted a mistrial late Wednesday afternoon because the jury could not come up with a unanimous decision.
In court on Wednesday, Alarcon’s defense brought to Judge Garcia a motion to replace a jury member, which Garcia initially denied. Garcia added that if the jury was unable to reach a decision, he would allow a mistrial.
Fast-forward into Wednesday evening, the jury returned saying that one of their own had a differing opinion from the rest of the panel. The juror in question maintained that their own opinion would not change, even through more deliberations.
Judge Garcia had no choice but to grant a mistrial. He thanked the jury for their service.
The judge also added that he will be awaiting the prosecution’s motion to retry the case. There is no word on when that will come.
As KTSM previously reported, Fernando Alonzo Alarcon was arrested for allegedly killing and beheading his mother, Graciela Acosta Licon, at their West El Paso apartment.
Licon was found dead and beheaded on April 20, 2017 in her apartment on the 5600 block of Suncrest after police conducted a welfare check requested by the family, who said they were unable to get ahold of Licon for several days.
The trial began on Wednesday April, 6, state prosecutors called seven witnesses to testify, including Licon’s sister, niece, a neighbor, the apartment complex maintenance supervisor and a few police officers from the initial investigation.
During opening statements, defense attorneys told the jury the defendant suffered mental while state prosecutors.
One of the police officers called to testify was a crime scene investigator in 2017 who video recorded the scene for the investigation.
That recording was played for the court on Wednesday, which showed the entire apartment and its state, including the victim’s body with a blanket covering her from the waist up. Glass shards, also appeared to be on the floor, as well as various medication bottles throughout the apartment and what appeared to be a bloody handprint on the wall by the body.
The defendant, Alarcon, was emotional and crying as the video played in court.
The victim’s dialysis machine was also shown in the video, in which defense attorneys questioned officers if it was possible the victim could have been sick and died from natural causes.
The video also showed a knife on the sink of the lower-level bathroom.
The victim’s sister, Martina Pedroza, who said she goes by “Martha” told the court she hadn’t heard from her sister for several days before she called for a welfare check.
She said she was at the apartment when police arrived to check on her sister, while she waited outside. She said when the police came out of the apartment, she saw the officer’s expression and started screaming “not my sister.”
Pedroza also testified that she felt the defendant had an “aggressive” relationship towards his mother.
In 2017, The El Paso County Medical Examiner ruled Licon’s death as homicide by unspecified means, ultimately ruling that she could not determine whether she had been killed before or after her son, Fernando Alarcon, allegedly beheaded her in her west El Paso apartment.
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