HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A jury trial over a lawsuit contesting the results of a Mississippi mayoral election has ended in a mistrial and left incumbent Johnny DuPree, who was the 2011 Democratic nominee for governor, in office for now.
The proceedings ended in a mistrial Tuesday night, following seven days of court proceedings surrounding the lawsuit involving the June 4 Hattiesburg mayoral election.
Dave Ware, who lost the general election by 37 votes, needed nine of 12 jurors to reach a verdict that he had won the most legal votes in the election.
The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/12H9gNO) that while jurors initially emerged to return a verdict 9-3 in Ware's favor, only eight sided with Ware when jurors were polled individually in open court. Judge William Coleman then polled the jurors in private and an 8-4 verdict was again returned.
DuPree's attorneys moved for a mistrial, which the judge granted. DuPree supporters celebrated in the courtroom afterward.
"They tried to take it away from us, but they didn't," said the Rev. Dennis Henderson of First Trinity Baptist Church, a DuPree supporter.
DuPree made history in 2011 when he was the first black candidate to win a major-party nomination for governor in Mississippi. He became mayor in 2001 and was seeking a fourth term as the top executive in Hattiesburg, which is located in southern Mississippi and had a population of about 46,000 in 2010.
Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com