Jury deadlocked; Mistrial declared in Gaston Co. murder trial

by: Ken Lemon Updated:


GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A jury is deadlocked and a mistrial has been declared in a Gaston County murder trial.

The jury foreperson didn't want to go on camera, but she told Channel 9, "We tried. We just couldn't do it."

Ten people wanted to convict Steve Neely of first-degree murder. Two wanted to convict him of second-degree murder.

After three days of emotional testimony. Three hours of closing arguments and 90 minutes of recorded confessions, the jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked just six hours into deliberations.

The decision is just fine for Jennifer Dockery.

 She used to work with Neely and she and her husband talk to him by phone every day.

"If you knew Steve, you would understand that he's not that type of person,” Dockery said.

Neely has already confessed multiple times to killing his ex-wife's new husband.

"I'm guilty,” Neely has said.

But Dockery said Neely snapped after an argument with David Colbert.

Neely told the court he cut Colbert, chased him down the street and stabbed him as neighbors watched.

Then he sat on side of the road, read the Bible and ate fast food as Colbert lay dying nearby.

"He has already done talked about this to God, but I don't think he should spend the rest if his life in prison," Dockery said.

She and Neely's family members feared he would get life in prison.
Neely supporters wanted a manslaughter conviction and three years in prison.
Neely's attorney asked jurors to convict Neely of voluntary manslaughter.

But the jury couldn’t agree on any of the charges, so now Neely has to prepare for a new trial.

"Twelve different people may have 12 different opinions,” said defense attorney Rick Beam.

Colbert's family members were not in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors plan to retry Neely in October.

MONDAY: Jury deliberates in case of man accused of stabbing man to death