After two hung juries, judge orders elderly defendant jailed while prosecutors decide next steps

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An accused murderer from Tampa whose trials have twice resulted in hung juries will have to stay in jail while his case is in limbo, a judge ruled Wednesday.

James Jackson, now 70, is accused of stabbing and strangling Diana Blumenberg Medina in 2017. His case went before a jury twice and both times ended in mistrials, including one earlier this month.

Jackson, who uses a walker, has claimed he's too old and frail to carry out this crime.

The defense asked a judge Wednesday to set a bond so the defendant would have the opportunity to get out of jail and stay with his cousin. The judge quickly denied the request.

Prosecutors will now have to decide whether to try the case a third time.

"I don't foresee a situation where the state just drops this charge and says, 'We're not going to go forward under any circumstance," said Anthony Rickman, a Tampa attorney and legal expert. "I think we may have a situation where an offer is relayed to the defendant and, if the defendant doesn't accept that offer, I would not be surprised if we don't see a third time at this trial." 

Rickman believes the visual of Jackson using his walker to move through the courtroom might have played into some jurors' doubts, bus said there are other questions prosecutors will have to address to avoid a third hung jury.

"There is no direct evidence," he said. "There is no smoking gun evidence showing this person did it and there's a potential second suspect who the defense has made a highlight of their case."

The state will take the case to the homicide committee, which is made up of several experienced prosecutors, who will decide how to proceed with the case.