After approximately five and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned to the courtroom to announce that it was "hopelessly deadlocked" in the murder trial of Justin Sizemore, accused of murdering Christopher Hoffpauir on the morning of June 14, 2010.




After approximately five and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned to the courtroom to announce that it was "hopelessly deadlocked" in the murder trial of Justin Sizemore, accused of murdering Christopher Hoffpauir on the morning of June 14, 2010.
Judge Jim Mitchell, of the 30th Judicial Court, questioned the jury foreman about the deadlock, asking if more time would benefit the jury in any way.
"No I don't think so," the foreman said. "We voted four times." The foreman added that the vote changed only once in those four times.
"They are apparently hopelessly deadlocked," said Mitchell just before he called a mistrial.
Scott Westerchil, prosecutor, asked that the jury be polled, at which time Mitchell summoned all counsel to his bench. However, the jury was ultimately not polled and was dismissed.
Sizemore was remanded to the custody of the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office.
"We'll just have to retry," said District Attorney Asa Skinner, who declined to comment further on the case.
Counsel for either side, as well as jurors, also declined to comment.
During the trial, the prosecution, led by Ronald Seastrunk and Westerchil, argued that Sizemore was a "cold blooded killer," and that the story he told jurors did not make sense. They questioned why Sizemore didn't ask any questions when Kristyn Hoffpauir returned after leaving him on the side of the road and also questioned why he would have sex with her 10 minutes later.
The state also stressed to jurors that they did not need to prove a motive for second degree murder, but said to "pick one - love, greed or just plain evil." They also argued that Sizemore had been planning the murder because, in part, of the use of the pay phone.
"Why did they use the pay phone? Because they had this thing planned," Seastrunk said.
Sizemore testified that Kristyn Hoffpauir left him on the side of the road, drove off, apparently murdered her husband and then came back to get Sizemore.
Krysten Hoffpauir testified that she had no idea Sizemore had plans to kill Christopher Hoffpauir and that as soon she returned to Garwood Busby Road with Christopher, Sizemore began shooting.
She said she had gone to get her husband because he wanted to talk to her and to see her.
Sizemore's attorney, Tony Tillman, said that the state did not prove that Justin Sizemore had anything to do with Christopher Hoffpauir's murder and claimed that Kristyn Hoffpauir was not a credible witness because she has changed her story multiple times. Tillman said that when Kristyn Hoffpauir accused Sizemore of the murder, "the investigation stopped," and that investigators failed to follow up on any other leads.
He also said that some of the evidence that officers introduced, including the observation of matted-down grass near a telephone pole at the crime scene, wasn't important because officers did not document it.
"There are a lot of inconsistent investigations with the state," Tillman said.
Both attorneys acknowleged to jurors that Kristyn Hoffpauir was not a model citizen. Westerchil and Seastrunk argued that she was "standing up to it (the truth)," while Tillman said that she is nothing more than a "master manipulator."
The jury had the option of four possible sentences: guilty as charged, guilty of manslaughter, guilty of negligent homicide or not guilty. A sentence of second-degree manslaughter would have resulted in a life sentence without the option for parole; manslaughter would have resulted in a sentence of up to 40 years; and negligent homicide would have resulted in a sentence of five years and/or a fine of $5,000.