SOUTH BEND — The trial of a man accused of beating his dog nearly to death last summer ended before it had barely begun Thursday afternoon in St. Joseph Superior Court.
Gerald McKinney’s defense attorney, Gary Griner, asked the judge to declare a mistrial after it became clear that seating an impartial jury would be difficult.
Several potential jurors told the attorneys they were familiar with the case because of pretrial publicity and had already formed opinions about McKinney’s role in the crime, court officials said.
The county had called 28 people as potential jurors, but only 22 showed up to court Thursday morning, according to court records. From that pool, attorneys needed to select six people for the jury.
The potential jurors had also reportedly discussed the case among themselves as they were waiting for jury selection to begin.
St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jane Woodward Miller granted Griner’s request, and a new trial date for McKinney was set for 10 a.m. June 23.