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Mistrial declared in trial for Davenport civil rights commissioner accused of sledgehammer attack

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Jurors were unable to come to a conclusion in the Latrice Lacey trial, a Davenport Civil Rights Commissioner accused of having attacked her ex-boyfriend with a sledgehammer.

Lacey was charged with three counts of domestic abuse and one count of first-degree harassment. Her case went to jurors at 11 A.M on Friday, but the day ended in a deadlock, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

In trying to get a guilty verdict on all counts, Scott County Assistant Attorney Samuel Huff needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Lacey attacked her ex-boyfriend Clyde Richardson last April 30 outside his workplace on Pershing Avenue, with intent and with a dangerous weapon.

"She showed up there for one reason, to confront him, not talk to, to confront," Huff told jurors in closing arguments.

"You swing a hammer at someone’s head, you mean to cause injury."

He urged jurors to review the video that recorded it all: "You see exactly how she swings it."

But Lacey's defense attorney, Murray Bell, said it was Richardson who had been the aggressor: "He couldn't control himself. In fact, what you see is  pattern: rage, rage, rage, 'I’m sorry let me apologize to you.' Rage, rage, rage, 'I'm sorry let me apologize to you.'"

Witnesses testified Richardson choked Lacey and damaged her car in the months leading up to the confrontation.

"He couldn't control himself, he couldn't control his rage. So she goes to a public place with a witness, with the security camera, to meet his request to talk to her, to get it stopped. And he attacks her," he said.

Bell says she acted to protect herself and a friend who was with her.

"She was acting in self-defense. She was justified," he said. "She got the hammer after he was on top of her, in the car, and said, 'I'm gonna kill you!'"

Richardson, Lacey's ex, never took the stand.

But Huff told jurors, "From day one I told you he wasn't gonna be here."

"That makes things difficult. What makes things less difficult is the video recording of this incident," he said.

The prosecution had the opportunity to leave jurors with the last word: "This was not justification, it was retaliation, plain and simple. She had had enough and she was going to handle it the way she wanted to."

Following the mistrial, attorneys will reconvene in court for another pretrial conference next Wednesday, March 27.

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