A South Carolina judge declared a mistrial early Tuesday in the case of a white ex-police chief charged with murder in the shooting death an unarmed black man.
The jury deliberated for 12 hours before telling Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson early in the morning they were deadlocked.
Former Eutawville Police Chief Richard Combs was charged after shooting Bernard Bailey three times in May of 2011.
Prosecutor David Pascoe said he will evaluate his case but plans to try Combs again.
"I'm going to take a little time, but we're going forward," Pascoe said.
Pascoe said nine jurors had voted to convict Combs.
"We just had three jurors we couldn't convince," he said.
Defense attorney Wally Fayssoux, who maintains that Combs is innocent, said it had been a long week.
"We're disappointed we didn't get a result, but I think both sides feel that way," Fayssoux said.
The shooting happened after Combs was trying to arrest Bailey on an obstruction of justice warrant prosecutors contended was trumped up.
The defense said the shooting had nothing to do with race and argued Combs fired in self-defense when he was caught in the door of Bailey's moving truck.
During closing arguments, Pascoe said Combs frequently changed his story to match the evidence and was confident he would never be held responsible for killing Bailey because he was a police officer.
"He thought he got away with it because he wears a badge. Prove him wrong," Pascoe said in a passionate, hour-long argument during which he slammed the gun used in the killing on a table and had an assistant sit in the witness chair so he could carefully recreate the shooting.
Fayssoux said the case hinges on the three seconds in which Combs was trapped in the door of Bailey's pickup as it rolled in reverse, not the seven weeks it took Combs to serve a warrant on Bailey.
"Does he want to go home to his family?" Fayssoux said of Combs. "Or does he hope the truck doesn't roll over the top of him?"
Jurors had the choice between murder and voluntary manslaughter. Murder carries 30 years to life in prison without parole. Voluntary manslaughter carries two to 30 years in prison, and would have meant Bailey's killing was illegal but happened in the heat of the moment.
Judge Dickson authorized the voluntary manslaughter option Monday.
The seeds of the fatal confrontation were sown seven weeks earlier when Combs stopped Bailey's daughter for a broken taillight. The daughter called her father and Bailey came to the side of the road.
Sometime later, the chief secured a warrant for obstruction of justice, but waited several weeks to serve it until Bailey came to Town Hall the day before his daughter's trial. Pascoe asserted that Combs wanted to make a display of arresting Bailey, when he could have instead asked for help from sheriff's deputies.
After Combs told Bailey he was being arrested for obstruction of justice, witnesses said Bailey left Combs' office and went for his truck. Combs followed.
Pascoe said Combs could have stepped away from the truck door, but instead stood there and fired three shots into Bailey. The prosecutor said several things made it clear the truck was stopped and Bailey was trying to give up: The victim's foot was on the brake, and three shell casings were found close together along with Combs' dropped handcuffs.
But Combs' lawyer said all that mattered was that the chief feared for his life during the three seconds it took to shoot. He said Combs had no pepper spray or Taser and had no option but his gun.
Eutawville suspended Combs after the shooting and dismissed him several months later. The town reached a $400,000 wrongful death settlement with Bailey's family.
Although Combs was white and Bailey was black, race hasn't been front and center of the case. Pascoe contends Combs was angry at Bailey for just trying to show him up.