May 26 (UPI) — A Cleveland judge declared a mistrial in the case of Tevin Biles-Thomas, brother of U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
Judge Joan Syneberg put an abrupt end to the trial during the third day of jury deliberations Monday as jurors told her that copies of legal briefs from prosecutors and Tevin Biles-Thomas’ attorneys wound up in the trial evidence given to them.
The brief included debate between prosecutors and Biles-Thomas’ defense attorneys over whether he acted in self-defense in the fatal shooting of DeVaughn Gibson, 23, DelVaunte Johnson, 19, and Toshaun Banks, 21.
Legal paperwork obtained by The New York Times included a motion by Biles-Thomas’ lawyers requesting the judge instruct the jury on how to determine if he acted in self-defense.
“The evidence in this matter tends to support that if a trier of fact believes Tevin Biles-Thomas fired any weapon that it was in defense of DeVaugh Gibson,” the motion stated.
Synenberg denied the motion and Biles-Thomas’ attorney told jurors he did not have a gun at the party where the shooting took place.
All 12 jurors on Monday told Synenberg that the information they read in the brief influenced their decision in the case.
It was unclear how the briefs became mixed in with the evidence and the defense said they did not print any paperwork during the trial, using only electronic copies.
Jury selection for a new trial is set to begin Wednesday.
Biles-Thomas was arrested at a U.S. Army base in August 2019 on multiple counts of murder, voluntary manslaughter, felonious assault and perjury in connection with the shooting on Dec. 31, 2018.
In addition to the three deaths, a 21-year-old man was shot in the head and a 23-year-old woman in the arm, but both survived.
No physical evidence tied Biles-Thomas to the shooting and one witness who testified could not identify him as the shooter while the other said he didn’t see Biles-Thomas shoot.