By jason brown
July 26, 2012
CROWLEY — The illegal contraband trial of a man accused in the January 2005 killing of two women in Branch resulted in a mistrial late Tuesday evening after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in the case.
Daniel Brandon Prince was on trial for one count of contraband in a penal institution stemming from an incident in late October when he allegedly used an envelope from his then-attorney to smuggle marijuana, rolling papers, cigarettes and pornography into the Acadia Parish Jail.
Prince’s attorney at the time, Burleigh Doga, has said the contraband did not come from his office and he was not involved in the incident.
Prince was being held without bail on charges of the first-degree murders of Angela Matte and Jackie Campbell, both of Branch, after being accused of killing the women inside a mobile home and setting fire to the structure to cover up the slayings.
A motive for the killings has not been disclosed.
The first-degree murder charges are still pending and no date has been set for a trial, prosecutor Roger Hamilton said Wednesday.
“Unfortunately the jury could not agree to the defendant’s guilt regarding this crime,” Hamilton said of Tuesday’s trial. “As a result the judge declared a mistrial. The District Attorney’s Office will ensure that justice be served in this case.”
According to the Acadia Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, the six-person jury sent a note after 90 minutes of deliberations declaring that five of the jurors had reached a decision for a lesser charge and one had voted for a not guilty decision. The juror who sent the note wrote that a change was unlikely.
Hamilton would not comment on why the state is pursuing the contraband charges against Prince before it pursues the murder charges.
Asked if the state intends to seek a habitual offender bill against Prince should the next trial result in a conviction, Hamilton replied, “The state at this point in time will leave all options open at the end of this prosecution. At that point in time we will determine whether we will file a habitual offender bill on him.”
Prince’s public defender, Thomas V. Alonzo, said he expects the next trial to be scheduled soon. State District Judge John Trahan presided over the trial.