NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A mistrial has been declared after a jury couldn’t decide whether to convict a daycare operator charged with felony child neglect.
The jury of seven men and five women reported to Judge Everett Martin that after two and a half hours of deliberations, they were hopelessly deadlocked. A juror told 10 On Your Side that the deadlock was 10-2, in favor of an acquittal.
Jury trials for serious crimes must be unanimous.
The jury heard the case against Jessica Anne Cherry on Tuesday, and started deliberations on Tuesday afternoon after the prosecution and defense rested.
Cherry was charged with felony child neglect after a 1-year-old girl she was watching in 2018 was seriously injured.
The child suffered a fractured skull and bleeding near the brain. A specialist at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters testified that the injuries were the result of blunt force trauma, but couldn’t specify what caused it. The defense said it could have been a possible accident or fall.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi told 10 On Your Side he plans to move forward with a retrial, but would not comment on the ongoing case. Defense attorneys Emily Munn and Jennifer Gebler also declined to comment. Both sides will confer in March with Judge Martin to set a new trial date.
The jury notably was not allowed to hear information about two other children who died after they were under Cherry’s supervision at her unlicensed daycare. Cherry was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 2-year-old Kaylee Thomas. She was also charged with malicious wounding in connection to the death of 1-year-old Benjamin Gates.
10 On Your Side has confirmed that the new trial date for Jessica Cherry in this case that ended in a mistrial will be determined on April 6.
The court will set a trial date for her charges in the other cases on March 2.