The jury in the case of a brutal Atwater home-invasion robbery couldn't decide whether defendant Joey Edward Cardoza was guilty of the crime. Merced County Superior Court Judge Ronald Hansen on Friday afternoon declared a mistrial after two days of jury deliberations.
"Usually when a jury deadlocks, we hear voices raised and heated. We didn't sense any of that," Hansen said.
Jury members polled themselves three times, twice splitting 8-4 in favor of a guilty verdict. The third vote was split 7-5. A new trial date of Nov. 8 has been set.
Cardoza is accused of committing a brutal April 27 home invasion at the home of a 56-year-old Atwater woman. Deputy District Attorney Walter Wall said during the trial that Cardoza beat the woman, knocking out a tooth and fracturing her eye socket.
If convicted, Cardoza faces around 25 years in prison, said defense attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum. The prosecution's key witness in the case is Cardoza's ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Grace, who is suspected of participating in the robbery at the Fay Drive home. She testified against Cardoza in exchange for a reduced jail term. Wall said during the trial that Cardoza previously had a four-year relationship with the victim's daughter. He spent three years in prison for burglarizing the same woman's home.
- Brandon Bowers