CREATED Aug. 20, 2013
Omaha, NE- There's a hung jury in the sexual abuse case of former Ralston teacher Nicholas Richter.
Richter is accused of four counts of third degree sexual assault of a child. The defense argued students mistook his touching for his teaching style.
"We wanted not guilty on all four counts, but we appreciate that the jury spent the time, and we can tell the jury put a lot of thought into this," said Joe Howard, Richter's attorney. "We are glad they listened to us."
The jury started deliberating Friday. On Tuesday, the jury told the judge they'd never reach a unanimous agreement.
"Obviously, some of the jurors had a difference of opinion," said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. "That happens, and it's something that we deal with."
Around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, the jury asked the judge if their decision had to be unanimous because they couldn't agree.
The foreman said they were spilt 4-8, but the judge asked him not to say if that was in favor of guilty or not guilty.
The defense then asked for a mistrial, and the prosecution asked to give the jury until the end of the day. The judge sided with the defense and declared a mistrial.
"People were holding to their convictions, and you really can't ask them to do anything else but that," said Howard. "We learned a lot about this case, and if we have to retry it, we certainly know how to do it."
Late Tuesday afternoon, Kleine said they will try Richter again because they believe in their case.
"That's the hard part -- asking your witnesses and victims to come forward and have to go through the process again, but, certainly, that's something we are willing to do," said Kleine.
Richter is still out on bond. The judge ruled that the bond will remain at $1.5 million.
As far as a timeline for retrying the case, Kleine said it's up to the judge to determine a new trial date.