- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2016

HAILEY, Idaho (AP) - A judge has declared a mistrial on the first day of a Hailey man’s murder trial after the first witness accused the defendant of committing a separate crime.

The Time-News reports (https://bit.ly/1W3m3mQ ) that Keith Eric Blankenship must now await a new trial after the mistrial on Thursday. Blankenship has been accused of second-degree murder in connection to the death of 47-year-old Stephan Michael Romanchuk.

Romanchuk’s wife reported her husband missing in January 2014. She said he had lent money to a neighbor and later confronted him over the loan.

It was Romanchuk’s wife who disrupted the trial. She said she saw Blankenship try to break into a neighbor’s house.

District Judge Jonathan Brody ruled that juror should not have heard such an accusation, which would not have been permissible if prevented beforehand.

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com

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