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Crime

Judge calls mistrial after an Annapolis man’s second murder trial ends in hung jury

Jurors remained deadlocked in their deliberations on first- and second-degree murder charges against the 42-year-old Annapolis man accused of stabbing Deontrae Matthews, leading the judge to declare a mistrial Monday evening.

Anne Arundel prosecutors must now decide if they are going to try Lester Lee Colbert on murder charges for a third time. The former Annapolis resident’s first trial in 2021 also resulted in a mistrial.

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Jurors spent part of Friday and all Monday deliberating the murder charges against Colbert following a weeklong trial in which prosecutors argued he had stabbed Matthews, 34, in the Annapolis Walk neighborhood on July 6, 2020.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Cathleen Vitale called a mistrial and dismissed the 12 jurors Monday evening. Colbert will remain in the Jennifer Road Detention Center until prosecutors decide whether to try him again.

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Colbert was arrested in August 2020, more than a month after the stabbing. Police found Matthews, 34, at around 1 a.m. in the 1000 block of Baywind Drive, suffering from a stab wound. He died from blood loss after being taken to Anne Arundel County Medical Center. His death was ruled a homicide, police wrote in charging documents.

Prosecutors have argued that while Matthews and a group of people were in the neighborhood, Colbert had gone to his home nearby and grabbed a wood-handled kitchen knife. He then walked up to Matthews and stabbed him once, Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly Poma said during closing arguments.

The two had previously known each other, and had called each other several times, including minutes before the stabbing. Colbert told officers that Matthews was seeking phencyclidine, or PCP, and that he told Matthews to find it somewhere else.

Defense attorney Kathleen Kirchner argued that Colbert was not the assailant, noting there was no physical evidence linking him to the stabbing. She questioned the credibility of multiple witnesses, whose accounts of the stabbing have varied in the more than two years since Matthews’ death.


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