Jury deadlocks, mistrial declared in Indiana mall killing

March 25, 2022 GMT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The trial of a man charged in a deadly shooting that sent shoppers fleeing for safety inside a northern Indiana shopping mall has ended with a hung jury.

A St. Joseph County judge declared a mistrial in Dazhon Howard’s murder trial Thursday after jurors said they were deadlocked, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Prosecutors can now move for a retrial, offer a plea deal for a lesser charge or dismiss the case. A hearing on the matter has been set for mid-April.

Howard did not contest that he shot and killed Delaney Crosby, 23, of South Bend, inside University Park Mall in Mishawaka in September 2020 — a shooting that sent shoppers fleeing for safety at the mall just east of South Bend.

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But Howard said he acted in self-defense in response to Crosby’s actions leading up to the shooting, and a series of threats from Crosby that began in 2018.

Both men were with groups of people who engaged in an extended argument as they walked through the mall and eventually, video footage showed, Howard pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot Crosby five times.

Prosecutors argued that Crosby was challenging Howard to a fist fight, not threatening to kill him, and that Crosby was walking away from Howard at the time of the shooting.

Throughout the trial, Howard’s attorneys emphasized that he was acting based on the pattern of events dating back to 2018, and not just the immediate circumstances.