New trial expected in fatal accident case
Cheshire County Attorney: Negligent homicide case to be retried after hung jury resulted in mistrial
KEENE — A jury of nine women and three men were unable to reach a verdict in Cheshire County Superior Court last month in the case of a Hillsborough man charged with negligent homicide in a crash that killed his friend, a Hancock resident.
Eric Mays, 25, who formerly lived in Hancock, was accused of driving drunk in a Stoddard crash last year that killed his friend, Brandon Farrow, 24, of Hancock. Mays is being charged with two counts of negligent homicide, two counts of aggravated DWI and driving after revocation or suspension.
But after a five day trial, which concluded on Oct. 17, Cheshire County Attorney Peter W. Heed said in a recent interview with the Ledger-Transcript that a jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict. The mistrial declared in Superior Court on Oct. 18 was the result of a hung jury, he said.
“Once a jury reaches a point where the judge and the attorneys from both sides believe that there is no reasonable likelihood of them reaching a verdict, a hung jury is declared,” Heed said. “It doesn’t mean that anything went wrong at the trial.”
The case will be retried, Heed said, but the Superior Court has not yet set a date and the timetable for when it will is uncertain.
Before a mistrial was declared, the jury had entered its second afternoon of deliberations without reaching a verdict, Heed said.
The jury had for days heard conflicting testimony about who was behind the wheel during the crash, according to published reports. While Mays’ attorney said police have no evidence to prove that Mays was the one behind the wheel of the 1997 Honda Accord that crashed on Route 123 in the early morning hours of June 1, 2011, prosecutors told jurors Mays was driving. Mays’ friend and passenger, Farrow, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. A second passenger, Lesley Mouradian, 25, of Milford, suffered a fractured spine and concussion from the crash.
According to published reports, Mouradian testified that she doesn’t remember much of the crash, but recalled telling Mays, who she said was driving her car, to slow down.
But Russell Boynton, an accident reconstruction consultant and former state trooper hired by the defense team, testified that it is his opinion that Mouradian was behind the wheel. He said she was likely ejected through the front windshield of the driver’s seat, according to published reports.
Mays and Mouradian were both taken by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon for treatment and later released.
Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.