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No Fourth Murder Trial for Whyte

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: No Fourth Murder Trial for Whyte
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The murder case against Corbin Whyte is over. The Ithaca man has been put on trial three times for a 2010 shooting, each ending with hung juries. But there won't be a fourth trial. YNN's Tamara Lindstrom tells us why, and what's next for Whyte.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Corbin Whyte's latest appearance before a Tompkins County Judge proves a win for the defense.

"Mr. Whyte is innocent in the sense that the evidence simply is not here," said Defense Attorney Ray Schlather.

Whyte was charged with murder, attempted robbery and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the 2010 shooting death of Paul Garcia at Ithaca's Maple Hill Apartments.

After three trials and 36 jurors, a unanimous decision could not be reached.

On Friday, District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson announced there will not be a fourth murder trial.

"We are not going to prevail on the merits here," Wilkinson said. "We gave them every bit of evidence that we had, and they were unable to reach a decision. They couldn't convict him, they couldn't acquit him."

"It would really be a travesty to go forward with a fourth trial," Schlather said. "And I think that is clear to the community, it was clear to many, many, many of the jurors. It certainly was clear to some of the defense attorneys."

In October, Whyte was convicted on one charge, tampering with physical evidence.

The defense asked the judge to consider releasing Whyte until his sentencing.

"Even if Mr. Whyte is sentenced to that maximum two to four years, he would be eligible for parole release after he has served two-thirds of that," Schlather said. "So there's really only a matter of 90 to 120 days left for him to serve."

However, Wilkinson pointed out that Whyte has had run-ins with police while on bail during his last trial and asked that he remain in custody.

"Even while out on bail, knowing that he had this trial pending, and knowing that he was under a requirement to obey the law, he felt free to disregard that," Wilkinson said.

Meanwhile, the family that sat through three long trials is grateful they will not see a fourth.

"I'm just glad it's over, nothing else hanging over his head," said Whyte's Father, Rev. Riney Whyte. "Now we all as a family can move on in our lives, and my son can do what he needs to do for himself."

The judge denied the defense's request for release, pending sentencing. Whether or not Whyte spends the holidays with his family, as the defense asked, or sees any time in state prison remains to be seen.

District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson said she began an investigation into possible jury misconduct after seeing YNN's interview with a juror following Whyte's third trial.

Juror number twelve said one of the jurors was uncooperative during deliberations. He said that juror was the only person who disagreed with a guilty verdict on attempted robbery, which led to a mistrial.

Wilkinson said she looked into the claim, but did not find evidence to prove misconduct. She said the jury did carry out their responsibility.

Whyte is scheduled to be sentenced for tampering with evidence later this month. His attorney said they may appeal that conviction.

Whyte is also facing charges of criminal impersonation in Lansing.

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