Judge Declares Mistrial in Murder Case

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By Hilary LeHew

BENTON -- A Franklin County judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a man accused of killing his girlfriend.
 
Donald Lee, 39, of Elkville faces charges of first degree murder and aggravated use of a weapon.
    
His then girlfriend, Brittany Andrews, 23 of Bonnie, was found shot in the head last May. It happened in the parking lot of Vickie's Card Shop in Benton. 
 
His trial has been underway since Wednesday afternoon, but now it's over. The whole process will have to start again in March, including a new jury.
 
Lee's attorney, Bryan Drew, filed a motion for a mistrial late Friday. That motion was later declared by Judge Tom Tedeschi. He agreed there was a problem with the evidence that he felt could not be cured.
 
The defense protested after interrogation tapes played for the jury included a comment that Donald Lee was a convicted felon. That evidence was not supposed to be included in the trial.    
    
The judge then thanked the jury for their time and they were dismissed. Before that, the jury spent most of the day watching those interrogation tapes.
 
The evidence has since been re-sealed and Lee's new trial is scheduled to begin on March 4.
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