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Kanawha murder trial ends in hung jury, mistrial declared

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County murder trial ended in a mistrial Tuesday after a jury could not reach a verdict.

The 12-member panel told Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King it was deadlocked in the case against John Stanley Ford III. King declared a hung jury and mistrial.

Ford allegedly killed Bryant Keith Johnson during a drug deal at Johnson’s home in April 2017.

Ford testified during the trial in his own defense. He said he was in the area of Johnson’s residence at the time of the shooting looking for drugs. He said he heard the shots but didn’t shoot Johnson.

The jury began deliberations last Friday evening and then broke for the weekend. Members deliberated all day Monday without a verdict. The jury asked Judge King a few questions that the judge told them he couldn’t answer. The jury deliberated for a few hours Tuesday morning before members told the judge they couldn’t reach a verdict.

Ford remains in the South Central Regional Jail on the murder charge and a separate federal charge. Kanawha County prosecutors could choose to take him to trial again in front of a different jury. That’s been the practice of the office in the past.

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