Judge declares mistrial in Church murder trial

As first reported last week at plattecountycitizen.com, Platte County Circuit Court Judge Lee Hull has declared a mistrial in the first-degree murder trial of Brandon Church. Hull granted the mistrial, asked for by Church’s attorney, after Platte County prosecutors and the defense became aware of additional crime scene photographs that had not been reviewed prior to trial. The ruling brings to a halt the trial, which finally got under way last week. The mistrial is the latest delay in the case — it has taken more than two and one-half years to bring the case to trial. Church, 22, is accused of beating Platte City man Kerry Deyo to death at his home in July of 2011. A new trial date of April 7 has been set, at which time the entire process will start over. This includes selection of a new jury and bringing any witnesses who had testified last week back to the witness stand. Those witnesses include Deyo’s wife and brother, who both gave emotional testimony in front of the jury last week. Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said he was in “100 percent agreement” with Hull’s declaration of a mistrial. “This is the most serious crime someone can be accused of, and it is vitally important that Mr. Church and his lawyers have the opportunity to review all of the evidence in order to receive a fair trial,” Zahnd said. “We look forward to presenting evidence to another jury on April 7.” Zahnd said the mistrial was the first in his office during his 11-year tenure.