A jury said Friday it cannot reach a verdict in the high-profile murder-for-hire trial of an alleged gunman.
Damian Flores, 28, has been charged with attempted capital murder. A judge declared a mistrial and a new trial was set to start next year.
Prosecutors said Flores shot Yvonne Stern at an apartment complex in the 4500 block of North Braeswood Boulevard on May 5, 2010.
Stern is married to attorney Jeffrey Stern. Prosecutors said his mistress, Michelle Gaiser, orchestrated a plot to kill Yvonne Stern.
The jury began deliberating Thursday. They sent out a note Thursday informing the judge that they were deadlocked 5 to 7, and the judge told them to keep working. The jury came back Friday and was deadlocked 6 to 6.
Gaiser agreed to plead guilty to solicitation of capital murder, prosecutors said. She testified Tuesday that Flores was the hitman she hired to kill Yvonne Stern.
"What I did was wrong," Gaiser testified.
Gaiser told the jury that she hired several men to kill Yvonne Stern. She said she paid Flores $15,000.
Gaiser testified that when Flores found out Yvonne Stern survived the shooting, he asked for a piece of her clothing so he could put it on a shrine to Santa Muerte, the saint of the dead, and pray for him to finish the job. An officer who executed a search warrant on an unrelated drug charge was expected to testify about finding it.
Flores said he is innocent. His wife, Heidi, is standing beside him.
"We just want him to be home," she said. "He's suffering every day. He's in a place that he shouldn't be in right now. He's being charged with a crime that he didn't commit."
Yvonne Stern originally identified her shooter as a flooring contractor. She admitted on the stand Monday that she had made a mistake. She identified Flores as the shooter through a photo lineup.
During closing arguments, defense attorneys reminded the jury about that. They said Yvonne Stern did not see any tattoos on her shooter, but Flores has tattoos on his arms and neck.
"He has a big tattoo of his wife and kids on his neck," attorney Sam Cammack said. "It would be something that you would notice."
Prosecutors said in closing arguments that Flores did not have an alibi. They said Flores' cellphone pinged a tower in the area of the shooting at the time of the shooting.
Another attempt was made on Yvonne Stern's life three weeks earlier when shots were fired through the door of her Bellaire home. She was not wounded. Nhut Nguyen was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with that shooting and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Jeffrey Stern has been charged with solicitation of capital murder and has denied being a part of the plot. Yvonne and Jeffrey Stern still live together, and Yvonne Stern said she stands by her husband. She said they are victims of "a fatal attraction."
Tattoo artist James Lowery and a fifth person, Richard Gutierrez, have also been charged with solicitation of capital murder.
Jeffery Stern is scheduled to go on trial in February.