WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A retired Palm Beach County deputy was convicted of manslaughter on Monday for shooting and killing his estranged son-in-law two years ago.
This was Carlton Nebergall's second trial for the February 2018 fatal shooting of Jacob Lodge.
A mistrial was declared in Nebergall's first trial back in December because a juror was caught using a cellphone while Nebergall's defense attorney was giving his closing arguments.
Jurors began deliberating last Wednesday. However, the jury indicated it was deadlocked and did not deliberate on Friday because a juror had to travel out of the state.
Nebergall's attorney filed a motion Sunday asking for another mistrial, saying it would be "fundamentally unfair" to his client for the trial to continue in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
In his motion to declare a mistrial, defense attorney Michael Salnick argued that the jury "failed to follow the court’s instruction and provided the number at which they were deadlocked."
"As this trial has been ongoing, the state of Florida, the United States of America and most of the civilized world has been dealing with the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19," Salnick wrote in his motion.
Citing that individuals who are 60 or older with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of contracting the virus, Salnick noted that Nebergall is 63, diabetic, and has other health conditions.
Salnick's motion claimed that the "current toxic environment with respect to the coronavirus, coupled with the jurors being asked to return to an environment that has been precluded to most everyone else, puts additional pressure and responsibility on the jury."
Nebergall was charged with first-degree murder in Lodge's death. However, jurors elected to convict him on a lesser charge of manslaughter.