Apr 19, 2013 9:27 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

No verdict in former prison guard murder trial

A jury in Santa Maria could not agree on a verdict Friday in the case of a former Lompoc federal prison guard who killed another guard last year.

Timothy McNally is charged with second degree murder for shooting Gary Bent in a Lompoc hotel room.

His attorney argued the shooting was an accident and happened while they were partying, but Santa Barbara County Prosecutors say McNally knew the dangers of using a firearm while drinking.

The jury first came into the courtroom without a decision.

The jury foreman said some jurors had questions about the case that needed to be clarified.

The judge sent the jurors back to the jury room to resume deliberations.

When they were still deadlocked a couple of hours later, they were dismissed by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelley.

The trial for 33-year-old McNally started more than two weeks ago.

In March of 2012, Bent and McNally were staying at the same hotel in Lompoc for a training conference when McNally shot 32-year-old Bent, while he was drinking.

Bent was found dead in the bathroom of a hotel room with a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Bent was a federal correctional officer in Victorville.

Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens says even with a mistrial, McNally is still currently charged with second degree murder and is still in custody.

"There's no way of knowing how many times this happens. It happens every once in a while. From here, like I said, we will come back on May 1st and resume settlement negotiations and if we can't resolve the case, we will go forward with the trial again," said Brandon Jepens, Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney.



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