- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Prosecutors will retry a New Mexico man accused of murdering three members of an El Rancho family after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

The jury of seven women and five men said Wednesday they were “hopelessly deadlocked” in the case of 21-year-old Nicholas Ortiz, who was charged with three counts of murder for the 2011 slayings in a small community north of Santa Fe.

The jury said it was stuck 8-4, with the majority believed 21-year-old Nicholas Ortiz killed 55-year-old Lloyd Ortiz, 53-year-old Dixie Ortiz and their son, 21-year-old Steven Ortiz.

Nicholas Ortiz was 16 at the time of the killings. He is not related to the victims but was a frequent guest in their home.

The jury also failed to reach a unanimous decision on charges of aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit burglary.

“You never know what a jury is going to do,” said defense attorney Dan Marlowe. “But I’m not surprised. The state did not prove their case.”

Deputy District Attorney Jason Lidyard said the prosecution plans to retry the case and asked for a hearing next week. Marlowe later said he doesn’t think a second trial will be any better for the state.

District Attorney Jennifer Padgett told the Albuquerque Journal by email that she was disappointed the jury didn’t reach a verdict, but praised jurors for their work.

“This case continues to be a tragedy for the small community of El Rancho, and I commit to revisiting the facts of this case in an expeditious manner to determine our next course of action,” said Padgett.

The state had no physical evidence, instead relying on the accounts of cousins Jose Roybal and Ashley Roybal, who told investigators more than a year after the triple homicide that they helped Ortiz plan the crime as part of a scheme to steal marijuana and money from the family.

The Roybals’ accounts differ, however, when it comes to Ashley Roybal’s involvement. Marlowe also told the judge he had some concerns that Jose Roybal threatened other witnesses in the case.

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