Mistrial declared in murder trial of Kalamazoo man accused of killing neighbor

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Todd Maneke, accused of killing his elderly neighbor back in 2013, will return to court in January 2018. Judge Pamela Lightvoet declared a mistrial after a few jurors admitted to gathering information outside of what was presented in court.

“I’m certain that everything that was done by the jury in this case was done with good intent,” said Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting.  “I don’t think anybody set out too spoil the process. A trial happens in a structured way in order to make sure that information that is in front of a jury is the right information.”

The jury deliberated at the Kalamazoo County Courthouse for over two days. They sat during the three-week trial listening to both the defense and prosecution present their cases regarding Todd Maneke. The prosecution argued that Maneke killed 88-year-old World War II veteran Alfred Minka in his own home. They said Maneke was looking for drug money to feed his habit at the time so he beat him with a hammer severely. The defense countered saying that Maneke ‘was no saint’ but the case was filled with assumptions.  Last Wednesday the jurors were read the jury instructions guiding them on how best to reach a verdict.

“The jury instructions specifically address the issues of not allowing themselves to be influenced by outside sources, avoiding the media, not doing their own research,” said Getting meeting with media after court. “The only evidence they are to consider during the course of the trial is the evidence that’s introduced during the trial.”

Family for both sides sat in court throughout the trial and jury deliberations. Many cried after Tuesday’s mistrial was declared and they are now preparing to return on January 18, 2018 for Maneke’s new trial.

“It's been several years since Mr. Minka was killed,” said Getting. “To get to the point where we’re finally able to have this case brought to trial only then to have to do it again, must be incredibly difficult.”

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