Jurors deadlock again in second trial of man charged in 83-year-old’s death

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern judge declared a second mistrial in the case of a man accused of killing an 83-year-old man in south Bakersfield, after a jury once again failed to reach a verdict.

The jury on Wednesday deadlocked on charges including first-degree murder in the trial of Mario Avalos, 23, who prosecutors say injured Ronald True early July 16, 2019, at True’s residence on Clark Avenue. True died a week later.

Avalos’ public defender, Lexi Blythe, said her client is innocent and surveillance footage captured him at a Fastrip at the time the killing.

“The problem in this case is that the evidence isn’t there,” she said.

Prosecutor Bradley King said the jury divided 11-1 in favor of finding Avalos guilty. While a hung jury doesn’t necessarily mean justice wasn’t done, he said it’s disappointing a verdict couldn’t be reached because everyone involved in the case seeks closure.

King said he’ll meet with True’s family to discuss what it thinks should happen going forward. A third trial could be held, or attorneys could make attempts to resolve the case through a plea agreement.

Avalos’ first trial in January also ended with the jury finding itself hopelessly deadlocked. A status conference in the case is set for Tuesday.

In the months before his death, True allowed Avalos to stay in a trailer on his property after the younger man was kicked out of his home. True’s family said he had been trying to help Avalos.

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