YOUNGSTOWN - The 7th District Court of Appeals has deadlocked on a case involving a man who has been on trial five times for an Austintown homicide.
In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court could not decide if a motion filed by prosecutors asking that Christopher Anderson be barred from appealing a trial court decision should be dismissed.
Anderson, and his lawyer, John Juhasz had filed a motion before Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge James C. Evans asking that charges against him be dismissed because he already has been tried five times and has not been convicted.
Prosecutors then asked the appeals court to dismiss Anderson's appeal, and the appeals court ruled 2-1 in Anderson's favor. Prosecutors then asked the entire court to decide if Anderson was eligible to appeal before his trial, which was the issue decided Tuesday.
In a split decision, the court could not agree if the order by Evans can be appealed, so the appeal of Evans' ruling will be allowed to continue.
Anderson is accused of killing 22-year-old Amber Zurcher inside her Austintown apartment on June 3, 2002. His first trial was declared a mistrial. He was convicted in November 2003 but an appeals court overturned the conviction. A hung jury was the result in 2008. Another mistrial was declared in 2010. And later in the year there was another hung jury.
Outcome of Christopher Anderson's homicide trials:
2003 - mistrial
2003 - convicted (overturned in 2006)
2008 - hung jury
2010 - mistrial
2010 - hung jury
According to court records, a sixth trial has not been set.
Judges Joseph Vukovich and Cheryl Waite agreed with prosecutors, while Judge Mary DeGenaro and Gene Donofrio sided with Anderson.
Writing for Donofrio, DeGenaro said that ''Ohio's scheme of only providing a post-trial remedy'' to allow Anderson to argue that another trial would violate his double jeopardy rights is unconstitutional.
Vukovich wrote the decision to refuse to dismiss the appeal does not determine what might happen in a trial court or appeals court.
Juhasz said he did not want to comment until he read the entire decision. Assistant Prosecutor Ralph Rivera also said he wanted to study the ruling before commenting.