Judge Rules Out New Trial For Suspect In Woman's Death

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A man whose trial ended in a mistrial just before the jury's vote to acquit him was announced can't be tried again on the same charges in a woman's death, a judge ruled Friday.

Denny Ross, 22, of Springfield Township, was charged with the 1999 rape and murder of Hannah Hill, 18, of Akron. A week after she disappeared, Hill's body was found in the trunk of her car, which police had ticketed for illegal parking.

In October 2000, the jury was about to announce its verdict when the jury foreman told Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jane Bond that one of the jurors supported the verdict only because he was in a hurry to leave.

Bond, concerned about jury misconduct, dismissed the jury and declared a mistrial.

On Friday, Common Pleas Judge Joseph Cirigliano ruled that Bond erred in declaring a mistrial and that Ross can't be tried again on the murder, kidnapping or rape charges. He said the constitution prohibits against "double jeopardy," which is trying a person twice for the same offense.

Cirigliano said Bond "failed to scrupulously consider and investigate the alternatives to a mistrial."

Bond had only the jury foreman's word that another juror had behaved improperly and without a thorough investigation, "it was not possible to know if the jury was tainted," Cirigliano ruled.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)