Mistrial declared in Deontae Rush murder trial

Deontae Rush sits with his attorney, Jeff Pickens, during opening arguments
Deontae Rush sits with his attorney, Jeff Pickens, during opening arguments(Madison Pitsch)
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:54 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A judge has declared a mistrial in the murder trial of Deontae Rush. Rush is accused of killing a Lincoln man over an attempted drug theft last year.

The trial was initially delayed twice and was set to resume on Monday at the earliest after the judge tested positive for COVID-19.

However, the judge is still symptomatic and is testing positive for the virus, while others involved in the case have also tested positive, according to court filings.

This means the jurors will have been outside the courtroom, unsequestered, for six full days. In court records filed by the prosecution on Friday morning, it is argued that if Rush was found guilty, he “will certainly argue that the jury has had the opportunity to engage in jury misconduct or have otherwise been exposed to improper influence given the media attention to this case.”

The judge found that, through no fault of the state or the defendant, there is sufficient grounds for a declaration of a mistrial, the court documents state.

Rush is accused of shooting and killing James Shekie in February 2021.

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