CAMDEN, N. J. – A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the case of a New Jersey man accused of killing his 3-year-old son, as members of the jury told a judge they couldn’t reach a verdict after five days of deliberations.
Judge John Kelley declared a mistrial a day after the jury for the first time, told him that they could not agree on a judgment against David Creato. Kelley moved, and a conference for July 5, to plans of a new process.
Creato, known as D. J., maintained that his 3-year-old son, Brendan, Creato, walked away from his Haddon Township home in October 2015. The boy would have turned 5 on Thursday.
Creato called 911 to report his son missing when he realized that the child was not in the house, and the boy in pajama-clad body was found hours later in a wooded area by the Cooper River about a mile from the house.
During the trial, Camden County prosecutors said the boy’s neon green socks were clean, that would be impossible if he ran away from home. They also noted that about a month after the murder, in a conversation secretly recorded by the boy’s mother, Creato talked about “a spirit” the signs of his son to the forest, where he was found dead.
A medical examiner testified, Brendan, died of “homicidal violence”, but could not determine where and when he died. Brendan’s of the brain showed a deviation in accordance with oxygen deficiency that can be caused by choking, drowning or suffocation, but it could not be determined which of those led to his death.
The prosecutors already almost 10 days of the presentation of their case, but the defense took just 20 minutes before resting. Creato’s lawyer, Richard Fuschino Jr., then sought to have the charges dismissed, claiming prosecutors had ” do not have evidence to say that Brendan Creato was killed or that D. J. Creato was the person who killed him.”
Kelley rejected the motion, saying that the plaintiffs had demonstrated motive and sufficient evidence for the jury to decide whether or not Creato was guilty.
Prosecutors had maintained Creato killed his son, because he feared that his 17-year-old girlfriend, who was at the university, was planning to leave him. She had made it clear that they do not want to be his child and wanted him to give up custody. The girlfriend, who is now 19, was never charged, and they have broken.