BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - A mistrial was declared in the Jerry Manigault murder trial, Wednesday afternoon.
Manigault is charged in the 2014 death of Polly Ann Mitchell. Mitchell's jewelry and personal items were found on Manigault when he was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender, but he was also the prime suspect in another murder in Charleston County, just days before.
The defense asked for a mistrial this Tuesday because of a Department of Corrections identification card presented during witness testimony. Wednesday, the judge granted that motion after much consideration and advisement from other law professionals.
During pretrial, the issue came up that the state would not present any evidence or testimony that alluded to the fact that Manigault had a previous criminal record. The state agreed, but all that changed Tuesday when a detective with Charleston County took the stand to identify Manigault's belongings, which included his wallet with that identification card inside.
"The identification card was issued by DOC and that was something nobody noticed. That info then went to the jury. That's not proper for the jury to know that someone has a prior criminal record. They have to make their decision based on facts in the courtroom, not any past offense from the defendant," said Duffie Stone, 14th Circuit Solicitor.
This means Manigault will stay in jail and the trial will basically start over from scratch. The prosecution says this is actually better than going through with the whole trial for it to only be overturned by the appellate court years later.