By City News Service
A judge declared a mistrial Friday after jurors deadlocked in the trial of a man charged with the March 2012 stabbing death of a counselor at a Job Corps facility in Hollywood.
After about 3 1/2 days of deliberations, the jury foreman in Freddy Leyva's trial told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig J. Mitchell that the panel was split 10-2, with the majority favoring a murder conviction and the other two opting for voluntary manslaughter.
Leyva, now 24, is charged in the March 14, 2012, death of Dwayne Alexander, who was repeatedly stabbed in an office at the facility in the 1200 block of North Lodi Place. Levya was a student in the program at the time.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Britton told jurors that Leyva used a knife to fatally stab Alexander in an "unprovoked attack" in which three other students came to the counselor's aid in a "valiant but ultimately futile" effort to save him.
Defense attorney Tomas Requejo told jurors that Leyva had become "fearful of going in that office" and "felt he needed protection going into that office." Alexander was about 6-foot-1and 235 pounds and his client was 5- foot-8 and 150 pounds, the lawyer said.
Levya testified in his own defense. He contended that the counselor had been making unwanted sexual advances toward him, including bear-hugging him and kissing him on his neck the day before the stabbing.
During the trial, one of Alexander's co-workers, Nicholas Smith, testified that he saw Levya using a knife to stab Alexander.
"I told him to stop. I said, 'Stop, Freddy!"' Smith testified, noting that the attack continued despite his plea.
"I ran out of the office and started dialing 911," Smith told jurors.
Another co-worker, Man Sing Yip, testified that he called out for help after seeing Alexander trying to defend himself against Leyva.
Yip described himself as being "so scared" after seeing Alexander "on the floor with a lot of blood."
Brian Tack, who was a student at the facility, testified that he heard screaming coming from the third floor and saw two other students wrestling with Leyva. He said he joined in to subdue Leyva as the students yelled for him to let go of the knife.
Leyva -- who was arrested soon afterward by Los Angeles police -- has remained jailed since then. He is due back in court Nov. 15 for a pretrial hearing.