SANTA ANA, Calif. – A judge declared a mistrial (search) Monday in the case of an assistant sheriff's son and two other teenagers accused in the videotaped sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl.
The judge ruled after jurors sent him a note saying they were "hopelessly deadlocked" on all 24 counts.
The defendants could be charged again, the judge noted.
The three teens were charged with drugging and raping the 16-year-old girl in July 2002, during an encounter they recorded on a videotape that was the focus of the trial. Defense attorneys argued that the girl pretended to be unconscious during the videotaping and had consented to the sex acts.
Jurors began deliberating Thursday morning.
Gregory Haidl (search), 18, and Kyle Nachreiner (search) and Keith Spann (search), both 19, were charged with 24 felony counts, including rape by intoxication or force and assault with a deadly weapon, a pool cue. They faced up to 55 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
The July 2002 incident occurred inside the coastal home of Haidl's father, Don, an assistant sheriff who was not home at the time.
The woman testified that a day before the alleged assault she willingly had sex with Haidl and Spann, and kissed Nachreiner. She said she returned the next night to see Spann, but became dizzy and collapsed after drinking a blue-green drink that Nachreiner gave her.
"We're very disappointed," said Susan Kang Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office. She said prosecutors would talk to jurors and review the evidence but added: "It would take some strong information for us not to retry a case in which a 16-year-old girl was assaulted while she was unconscious."
Nachreiner's attorney, John Barrett, said he believes "it would be very difficult to get 12 honest people to agree on a verdict in this case. It's just too emotional."