Tucson murder trial ends in hung jury

2014-08-20T16:00:00Z 2014-08-20T20:48:32Z Tucson murder trial ends in hung juryPatrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The jury in a trial of a man accused of first-degree murder could not reach a verdict.

The jury in the courtroom of Pima County Superior Court Judge Christopher Browning were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of Donald Earl Woods.

Woods, 34, is accused of shooting to death Brandon Luster at an apartment complex near East Grant Road and North Fontana Avenue.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Julie Sottosanti argued that eyewitnesses saw Woods shoot Luster multiple times in the parking lot of the apartments, saying some even told police immediately following the shooting that “Dirty Red” was the shooter. Dirty Red is Woods’ nickname.

“You’ve heard no evidence that anyone other than this person over here (Woods) pumped seven rounds in to Brandon Luster,” Sottosanti told jurors in her closing statements.

The prosecution said an argument earlier on the night Luster was killed prompted the deadly shooting.

But defense attorney Sean Bruner argued some of the witnesses who identified Woods held grudges against him and used the shooting as an opportunity for revenge.

“The physical evidence does not line up with the testimony in this case,” Bruner said.

In particular, he argued Luster could not have been shot all seven times while lying on his stomach in the parking lot as two witnesses testified.

The medical examiner’s testimony showed the victim was shot not only in the back but also in the front of his arm and side of his head.

Bruner also said police have never identified a man seen running from the scene immediately after the shooting.

He also said none of the 21 911 calls the night of the shooting identified the defendant as the shooter.

Sottosanti said witnesses were consistent in identifying Woods as the shooter from the start of the investigation.

A new trial is planned for September.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@tucson.com. On Twitter @pm929.

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