Mistrial in Beckley wanton endangerment case - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Mistrial in Beckley wanton endangerment case

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A man who was accused of shooting up homes just more than two years ago will have to wait a little longer for a verdict in the case.  That is because a mistrial was declared on Tuesday, April 23.

Michael Harvey, 31, of Beckley was arrested on April 21, 2011 on charges of Wanton Endangerment.   Police believe he was the gunman in a drive-by shooting on Canaday Street.  Harvey was allegedly shooting at a person, but hit three homes and damaged property instead.  The investigation two years ago showed five bullets had been fired.

Harvey's trial for the alleged crime began almost two-years to the day after the incident happened.  A jury was selected on Wednesday, April 17 and the trial began on Thursday. 

There was some moments on the first day of the trial where it appeared bad for the prosecution.  That is because the defense called chain of custody on some evidence held at the Beckley Police Department into question.  The defense alleged that trouble with an evidence locker custodian who is awaiting sentencing in an unrelated incident made those exhibits inadmissible in court.  The Prosecuting Attorney contacted the person who handled the evidence, who was in Haiti, to help confirm the chain of custody.

The trial moved forward after Judge Robert Burnside ruled that there were no problems with the chain of custody.   The jury received the case on Monday, April 22 and continued deliberations on Tuesday until 1 p.m. when they returned to the courtroom deadlocked. 

Judge Burnside was forced to declare a mistrial in the case.  Prosecuting Attorney Tom Truman tells 59News that the case will now likely be held over until the next term.