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Plainfield Murder Trial Pushed Back To January Over Juror Issues

Updated 12/10/13 - 2:28 p.m.

JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) -- The Will County trial for a woman accused of a 2007 murder has been moved to January after the judge granted a mistrial over potential jury issues.

The jury chosen to hear the case against Gabriela Escutia, 24, of Joliet, was dismissed Tuesday morning after Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes granted defense attorney Charles Bretz's motion for a mistrial.

Escutia faces two counts of murder in the death of Javier Barrios, 18.

Prosecutors say Escutia and co-defendant Ricardo Gutierrez shot and killed Barrios on the afternoon of Oct. 28, 2007, behind a gas station near Route 59 and 135th Street in Plainfield.

She has been held in the Will County Jail on a $5 million bond since her arrest two days after Barrios' death.

Bretz made the mistrial motion because he was concerned the judge had unintentionally given the jurors a false impression that employers were required to pay them during jury duty.

Policandriotes said Tuesday morning that one juror told the court he likely would not be paid by his employer while he served on the jury. She told him that, in her experience, jurors often were paid by employers, even though it is not required by law.

Bretz said he has often seen jurors go without pay from their employers.

After the mistrial motion was granted, and as attorneys prepared to choose a new jury, Bretz asked Policandriotes to move the trial to January to avoid the distractions of the holidays. Prosecutors agreed.

People have shopping and parties on their minds at Christmas time, Bretz said, and many have travel plans. He said he believes Escutia's case would have a more focused jury if the trial began after the holidays.

Policandriotes scheduled jury selection to begin Jan. 6.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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