KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After more than 17 hours of deliberating, 12 jurors told Judge Steven Sword they are hopelessly deadlocked and are unable to return a verdict in the Norman Clark murder retrial.
Friday marked the second mistrial for the case. Eldridge was strangled, suffocated and stabbed to death in her Knoxville apartment in December 2011. Her boyfriend and father of her unborn baby, Norman Clark, was the lead suspect in the case.
Eldridge’s family was visibly emotional after Judge Sword declared the case a mistrial. They weren’t ready to speak about the trial, but said they are devastated by the hung jury.
“She was a sweet girl and she was looking forward to having that baby,” said the Eldridge’s family friend, Cheryle Johnston. “She deserved much better. It’s just cruel what happened to her.”
The outcome of the trial was not exactly was Clark’s family was hoping for either. They were hoping for a not guilty verdict. Clark is still on bond and the case is still open.
Clark’s attorney, Kit Rogers, said even though the case ended in a mistrial, the Clark family is still feeling relieved. He said he is not surprised by a deadlocked jury.
“This has happened once before. It’s a tough case for the state. It’s a tough case for us and it’s not surprising that they deadlocked again,” said Rogers.
The state and defense will appear for a hearing on October 20 where they will work to decide whether the case will be retried a third time. Eldridge’s family said they hope the case is retried. Clark’s family wants the cased dropped.