court square

Judge Wilson declared a mistrial at approximately 1 p.m. after the jury couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. 

The retrial of Mashkhal Ibrahim for the hit-and-run case of former JMU student Jared Antle ended in mistrial Friday after almost seven hours of deliberation by the jury. Antle’s parents sat front row, heads bowed, as Judge T.J. Wilson IV announced the mistrial. Ibrahim had no family in the room due to a court ruling limiting the number of attendees.

Aaron Cook, Ibrahim’s defense attorney, said even without a verdict of not guilty for Ibrahim, another mistrial is also disappointing, as it means more time involved and continued uncertainty for both Ibrahim’s and Antle’s families.

“It’s disappointing — it’s disappointing for [Ibrahim], it’s disappointing for [Antle’s] family,” Cook said. “Our hearts go out to [Antle’s] family.”

However, Cook said those following the case shouldn’t be quick to link a verdict with justice. They should remember, he said, that Ibrahim’s decision to flee the scene had no effect on Antle’s injuries.

“It’s unfortunate that the prosecution and the press have linked justice for [Antle] with [Ibrahim] going to prison,” Cook said.

Ibrahim, 29, was charged with felony hit-and-run charges after allegedly striking Antle with a black Honda Pilot in 2018. Ibrahim pleaded not guilty. The first trial, held in December 2019, was declared a mistrial when the jury couldn’t reach a verdict. 

The trial began Wednesday morning, and the jury began discussing the verdict Thursday afternoon after closing statements from the prosecution and defense. The jury deliberated for a little over two hours on Thursday before Judge Wilson called for recess for the night. The deliberation resumed at 9 a.m. Friday morning. 

Judge Wilson declared a mistrial at approximately 1 p.m. after the jury couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. A hearing will be held May 6, starting at 9 a.m. for deliberations around the possibility of retrying the case.

Cook said as decisions are made on whether or not to re-try the case, “I hope the prosecution sees their case might not be as strong as they think it is.”

The Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Victoria Jensen, representing the Commonwealth and the Antle family, had no comment.

Contact the news desk at breezenews@gmail.com. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.