Jurors deadlocked Wednesday evening after a three-day trial for a Victoria man accused of sexually assaulting a woman who was cleaning a home.
After almost nine hours of deliberation, jurors returned to the courtroom to tell District Judge Eli Garza they could not reach a unanimous decision on any of the three felony charges against Javier Manuel Gamez.
The 29-year-old man was charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a sexual offense, a first-degree felony, and two counts of sexual assault, a second-degree felony.
Garza then declared a mistrial and scheduled a bond hearing for Thursday. Gamez’s case and another unrelated case were the first two to head to trial under newly elected Victoria County District Attorney Constance Filley Johnson.
At that hearing, Gamez, who also faces a third-degree felony charge for assault of a family or household member by impeding breath or circulation, was given a pretrial bond that required him to pay about $4,500. Gamez’s attorney, former Victoria County District Attorney Dexter Eaves, said his client was previously held on a $150,000 cash bond after his arrest Nov. 2.
After remaining in jail for about six months, Gamez was released Thursday.
Eaves attributed the mistrial and the deadlocked jury to what he described as investigative failures by the Victoria Police Department.
Police investigators relied solely on the testimony of a Victoria woman who said she had been sexually assaulted by Gamez while cleaning a home on Nov. 2, Eaves said.
But investigators did not retrieve fingerprints from the home, and prosecutors did not wait for the completion of DNA testing of samples taken by a sexual assault nurse examiner, he said.
Despite the mistrial and Gamez’s avoidance of a potential life sentence, Eaves said he expected prosecutors to take the case to trial again. He did not know whether he would be asked to represent Gamez again.
Although Victoria County prosecutors did not answer questions, they said they would not let the case rest.
The case is still pending, and we intend to move forward at the next available opportunity,” said Johnson in a written statement.