Published on PinalCentral.com, by Kevin Reagan, on 7/17/17. To see article, go to - http://www.pinalcentral.com/coolidge_examiner/news/second-mistrial-in-coolidge-walmart-robbery-case/article_6a17f91e-b87f-58e9-a7ba-e1b35083e4ca.html
SECOND MISTRIAL IN COOLIDGE WALMART ROBBERY CASE
By Kevin Reagan, Staff Writer
FLORENCE — Another mistrial was declared for a defendant accused of conspiring with others to steal more than $100,000 from a Walmart in Coolidge.
A jury failed to reach a verdict for charges filed against Nathaniel Hearn, one of four suspects arrested in 2012 for robbing the store at gunpoint.
Two of the suspects have already been convicted and prosecutors attempted again to convict Hearn after his first trial ended with a hung jury two years ago.
The jurors in Hearn’s second trial began deliberating Friday afternoon and returned to Judge Joseph Georgini’s courtroom without a unanimous verdict on Monday.
In his closing arguments, Deputy County Attorney Patrick Johnson tried emphasizing Hearn’s guilt by displaying phone logs of the four suspects.
Johnson highlighted how Hearn was the only one calling and talking to Aaron Sharpe, the man who went inside the Walmart with a gun and stole more than $100,000 from a clerk.
Sharpe was convicted of armed robbery in 2015 and sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Johnson reminded the jury of evidence showing Sharpe calling Hearn the morning of the robbery shortly before 7 a.m., the time when employees switch shifts at the store. This didn’t factor into their plan, the prosecutor argued, so they were trying to keep things from falling apart.
James Soslowsky, the defendant’s attorney, stressed the lack of physical evidence tied to his client. He said there was no video surveillance footage or DNA evidence that pinpointed Hearn to the scene.
The defense further argued that there was no evidence presented to verify Hearn was the person actually talking on his phone for the call reported during the robbery. According to the phone logs, Soslowsky said there would have been an instance during the robbery when Sharpe and Hearn would be driving away in the same car but still talking to each other on the phone.
This was a case with more questions than answers, Soslowsky argued during closing arguments.
Johnson said there was no possibility Hearn was not involved in the robbery, telling the jury there was evidence indicating Hearn was at Sharpe’s house after the crime, reportedly counting the money.
By Friday afternoon, the jury indicated it wasn’t reaching a consensus in notes to the court. Georgini chose to dismiss jurors for the weekend, wanting them to continue deliberating on Monday.
Jurors were able to quickly reach a verdict last month for Efrain Hernandez, one of Hearn’s co-defendants. Hernandez’s first trial ended in a mistrial but prosecutors managed to convict him the second time for conspiracy to commit robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault with a weapon.
According to previous media reports, Efrain was a former employee of a Walmart in San Tan Valley before being temporarily assigned to the Coolidge store.
Eric Hernandez, the fourth defendant, is scheduled to stand trial later this year. The court will reconvene July 25 to set a new trial date for Hearn.