Henry Segura is no longer a criminal defendant – for now.
A Florida judge declared a mistrial this week in a sensational case against Segura who was charged with murdering his girlfriend and her three children to avoid paying back child support.
After two days of deliberations, the trial ended in a hung jury: the panel was hopelessly deadlocked.
Segura, who has maintained his innocence for the past seven years, said police never considered other suspects but a jury said they could not decide Segura’s fate.
Segura, 38, is accused of killing his girlfriend Brandi Peters, 27, her twin 6-year-old daughters, Tamiyah and Taniayah Peters, and their son, JaVonte Segura. All four were found dead in their Tallahassee, Florida home on Nov. 20, 2010.
This was a sad and bizarre case, which will likely play out again in another Florida courtroom in the future. It’s sad because the lives of a mother and three beautiful children were taken in an unusually violent and brutal fashion; it’s sad because families are grieving.
Prosecutors insist that Segura didn’t want to pay the $20,000 in back child support and murdered the family to evade payment.
Segura lied to police about being at Peters’ home after the bodies were discovered and he withheld a second cell phone he used to call women he was involved with even though he was married. His lawyers acknowledged that Segura did cheat on his wife, but they argue he’s not a murderer.
Consider these courtroom discrepancies from The Tallahassee Democrat:
Segura’s lead attorney, Nate Prince, contended evidence was overlooked, including gloves, bleach and suspected bloody clothing found at Jack McLean Park. A list of other potential suspects also was not vetted.
Prince pointed to a lack of DNA evidence linking Segura to the crime and the testimony of a gang expert who said Peters’ skimming off more than $100,000 in cocaine from a Los Zetas cartel she worked for would be enough to bring on the killings.
He also highlighted a dispute over five sets of footprints found in the foyer of the home where Peters’ body was found. Additionally, foreign female DNA found under her fingernails and the presence of male DNA not matching Segura discovered in her bedroom indicated more than one assailant was involved, Prince said.
But the case is complicated: Kelsey Kinard testified that Segura actually confessed to the murders while they were in prison together. Apparently, some jurors didn’t believe Kinard’s tale.
Prince told reporters the mistrial doesn’t exonerate Segura.
“We wanted Henry to walk out of here with us,” he said following the ruling. “We’re going to do everything we can to make that happen next time. “It’s frustrating, of course. I’m sure the state feels the same way. It’s been seven years coming. We both wanted an answer, it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Segura, the longest-serving inmate in the Leon County Jail, will stay behind bars until his next trial is scheduled.
In the meantime, many are left to wonder if Segura is an innocent man falsely accused — or a calculated monster guilty of a heinous crime.
What do you think?
PHOTO: News Screenshot
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