NEW YORK (CBS/AP) A judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the murder trial of John Katehis, 18, who is accused of stabbing George Weber, a radio newsman he met through Craigslist.
On the third day of deliberations, state Supreme Court Justice Neil Jon Firetog briefly reconsidered his mistrial decision, over lawyers' strenuous objections, when deadlocked jurors said they wanted a few more hours to consider the fate of Katehis. But he ultimately allowed the decision to stand.
During deliberations, jurors sent the judge notes asking to see crime scene photos of Weber's apartment again. They also wanted the transcript of testimony from one of the officers who found Weber's body read to them as well as explanations of second-degree murder and reasonable doubt.
On Monday, jurors in Brooklyn Supreme Court heard closing arguments from the prosecution and defense.
Defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz claimed Katehis was a victim of a drunken predator, while prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi described Katehis as "mature" and a "cold, calculating, savvy killer" who knew what he was doing when he stabbed Weber more than 50 times in March 2009.
Schwartz said Katehis went to Weber's Brooklyn apartment in March 2009 assuming he was going to make $60 to help move boxes, instead, when the then 16-year-old arrived, Weber offered him alcohol, a substance the teen believed to be cocaine and money in exchange for sex.
"George Weber was a 47-year-old drunk predator of an underage boy by the name of John Katehis," said Schwartz. "He lured this 16-year-old boy to his lair."
He claimed Katehis stabbed Weber in self-defense during a struggle over a knife Weber pulled out in the middle of a sexual encounter.
Prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi said Katehis was a willing participant, claiming that the two men exchanged e-mails and pictures prior to agreeing to meet at Weber's apartment. Weber, who had a sexual fetish for being smothered "to the point of where he was close to passing out," responded to Katehis' Craigslist advertisement in which he allegedly offered sex for money, according to prosecutors.
Katehis was being held without bail. If convicted, he could have faced 25 years to life in prison.
Weber had been working as a freelancer for ABC News Radio. He also had worked at WABC in New York, and at stations in California, Colorado and Pennsylvania.