Animal-cruelty trial postponed again

The second animal-cruelty trial of brothers Travers and Tremayne Johnson, whose first Baltimore proceeding ended in mistrial, was postponed Monday shortly before jury selection was set to begin, because witnesses were unavailable.

It's the fourth time the retrial has been delayed since May. The new trial date is set for Feb. 1 — nearly a year after the first trial ended.

"A key witness in the state's case has had a family emergency and is not going to be able to testify for approximately two weeks, possibly longer," prosecutor Jennifer Rallo told the judge, according to a video recording of the morning proceeding reviewed by The Baltimore Sun.

The teen-aged twins, who are in custody on unrelated charges, are accused of setting fire to a pit bull, who didn't survive despite the efforts of rescue workers, who nicknamed the dog Phoenix. Eleven jurors believed the Johnsons were guilty in the first trial, which ended in February of this year, but one woman said she had reasonable doubt.

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