LAWRENCEVILLE - A jury tasked with deciding whether Joe Lee Farris killed a tow-truck driver in Norcross two years ago could not reach a unanimous decision again Wednesday, sending the case to retrial.
Following two days of deliberations, Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor declared a mistrial after a lunch break.
John Warr, Assistant District Attorney, said the hung jury was deadlocked 6-6.
Farris, 43, of Carrollton, is accused of fatally shooting Olugbenga "Ken" Ikuesan, 47, in the driver's seat of his wrecker on May 9, 2007, near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.
The killing was motivated by robbery, prosecutors said.
A retrial date has not been set, a court representative said. Farris was transferred back to the Gwinnett County Jail about 2 p.m., where he'll remain without bond.
The case against Farris relied on physical evidence that prosecutors said connected him to the murder scene.
Forensics experts testified that a bullet found lodged in Ikuesan's skull matched that of a 9 mm found under Farris' porch in Carrollton. Police also found Nigerian currency in Farris' possession. Ikuesan had emigrated from Nigeria to start a wrecker business.
A part-time barber, Farris had lived in the back room of a barbershop near the crime scene and had cut the victim's hair on occasion, family members said.
Farris testified he knew the victim only in passing and wasn't in the area the night of the slaying. He faces life in prison plus 15 years.