The jury could not agree yesterday on whether Kenneth Tuck, 34, kidnapped state Rep. John Myers' son - Shamari Taylor, 26 - last summer or was playing cards on his mother's front porch when the crime occurred.
After a weeklong trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, the jury failed to reach the required unanimous verdict, splitting 8-4 in favor of "not guilty."
"We're disappointed," said Assistant District Attorney Gonen Haklay. "The defendant will continue to be held in jail without bail because the court believes that people's lives are still in danger.
"Next Friday [May 11], we'll pick a date for a new trial. We're looking forward to putting the case on again in front of another jury. We think we'll get a different verdict next time."
Haklay based his prosecution on the eyewitness testimony of Taylor's friend, Caren Murphy, 22, who had had a three-month sexual relationship with Tuck when she was 15 and he was 28.
Six years later, on the night of Aug. 26, 2006, Murphy was sitting in a car, on Woodbine Avenue near 76th Street, Overbrook Park, with Taylor, whom she suspected of being a drug dealer when they were surrounded by several armed men.
Most of the men were masked, but the two who weren't flashed badges, pretending to be cops making a drug bust.
Murphy recognized one of the unmasked men as her former lover Tuck, who grabbed Taylor and forced him into a van.
After she and Taylor were blindfolded and driven to what she thinks was a warehouse, Murphy said, she heard Taylor screaming, begging for his life.
Then the screaming stopped, she said.
No one has seen Taylor since.
Murphy was released within hours, after her abductors threatened to kill her if she talked.
But her family convinced her to go to police and identify Tuck. His subsequent arrest is the only one to date in this case.
Testifying in his own defense, Tuck said he was playing cards on his mother's front porch, on Jefferson Street near 62nd, Overbrook - more than a mile from the crime scene.
Tuck's mother, sister and a friend said they were with him.
In his closing, Haklay said Tuck's three alibi witnesses had a "motive to lie" to save him.
Defense attorney Christopher Warren, who alleged that Murphy had misidentified Tuck after not seeing him for six years, reminded jurors that they had to agree "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Tuck was guilty.
Yesterday, they didn't. *