Mistrial declared for officer charged with manslaughter

August 12, 2022 GMT

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — The trial of a Virginia police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man has ended in a mistrial.

Edmund “Ryan” Hoyt, a patrol officer with the Norfolk Police Department, was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2020 death of Kelvin White near a Chesapeake grocery store. Hoyt, who was off duty, claimed he acted in self defense, while prosecutors argued he “overstepped” and wrongly killed White.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that a Chesapeake Circuit Court judge declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked following nine hours of deliberations over two days.

Hoyt, 36, testified in his own defense, telling jurors he drove toward the store and confronted White after his wife called and said a man was threatening her and their two young daughters. Hoyt said he opened fire after White tried to stab him.

White, 42, had a long history of mental health problems, including a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, according to trial testimony.

About a dozen members of White’s family attended the trial. They declined to discuss the outcome as they left the courthouse.

It’s unclear whether prosecutors will seek a retrial. Hoyt’s attorney said he plans to file a motion to have the charges dismissed.