Crime, Fire + Courts

Second trial ordered in J Street death

By From page A1 | August 16, 2013

WOODLAND — A Yolo Superior Court judge Thursday ordered a second trial in a Davis homicide case.

Already convicted of attempted murder, James Elron Mings will be retried on allegations that the crime was premeditated, a finding that would determine the length of his prison sentence. The jury in Mings’ first trial in May deadlocked on the charge, with jurors split 9-3 in favor of finding it true.

Mings, 38, was accused of murder for the Oct. 1, 2011, choking death of Davis resident Kevin Gerard Seery, whose body was found in the bedroom of his College Square Apartments unit on J Street.

That night, Mings walked into the Davis Police Department and confessed to causing Seery’s death, saying the gravely ill victim who had met Mings just days earlier had pleaded to be put out of his misery.

But at Mings’ trial, defense attorney Dan Hutchinson argued that while Mings choked Seery into unconsciousness, another man who was at Seery’s apartment that night later stuffed a portion of a tube sock down Seery’s throat without Mings’ knowledge, causing Seery’s death.

Jurors acquitted Mings of both first- and second-degree murder before agreeing on the attempted-murder verdict.

Attorneys in the case debated in court filings whether the premeditation allegation should have been presented to the jury among the lesser-included crimes, as well as whether the remainder of the case should be dismissed “in the furtherance of justice.”

Judge Timothy Fall swiftly denied the defense’s motion to dismiss Thursday and said the case would be retried, setting an Oct. 15 trial date. The trial is expected to last about seven days.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8408. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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