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Friday, February 24, 2017 3:46 am

Jury undecided in murder case

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

Christoper Figgs, charged with the murder of Edword Kiel, will have to wait to find out his fate.

After around 10 hours of deliberation, the jury could not come to a decision late Thursday. The judge will reconvene with the prosecution and defense attorneys Wednesday to set a new trial date.

The prosecution argued Thursday in Allen Superior Court that Figgs killed Kiel on July 6, and that unless members of the jury believe that everyone who took the stand in the trial is a liar, it should be clear to them that Figgs is guilty.

The defense argued that the evidence doesn’t add up, it raises more questions than it answers and the main witness has offered up various versions of what happened that night.

Figgs is charged with murder, carrying a handgun without a license and use of a firearm in commission of a crime.

The shooting happened about 1:30 a.m. as Thomasa Hunter sat in a car with Kiel in front of her house on McKinnie Avenue. A man approached with a gun, and as Kiel tried to flee in the car, the gunman opened fire and killed him. The car continued forward a few hundred feet and hit a tree.

Various witnesses in the trial said that Hunter was crying uncontrollably after the shooting and one officer said he could get no information from her. 

Another officer, who described Hunter as in shock, said she told him she could remember nothing during an interview at the hospital after the shooting.

However, Hunter’s mother said Hunter told her shortly after the shooting that Figgs had committed the shooting, and one of Hunter’s daughters said she saw Figgs running from the area with something in his hand.

In closing arguments, the prosecution said Figgs had threatened to kill Hunter and anyone she had a relationship with only days before, even doing so in front of police. They said records show Figgs had called Hunter’s home to ask where she was and then hung up minutes before the shooting.

The prosecution said that there was plenty of lighting at the scene of the 1:30 a.m. shooting for her to recognize the shooter, and that later that day, once Hunter pulled herself together, she went to the police and told them what she saw.

The defense, though, argued that only one person is accusing Figgs and that only one person says he was the shooter and that she is not credible because her story has changed too much.

Defense attorney John Bohdan said Hunter has denied saying things to police on the night of the shooting, even though police testified she made those comments.

Bohdan even suggested that she had been in an unhappy relationship with Figgs and pointed her finger at him as the shooter to divert attention from herself. He urged the jury to err on the side of caution.

Family for Figgs, Kiel and Hunter waited in the courtroom for the verdict. Six women sat together for Figgs and none said they would speak on the record, referring the matter to God.

Carl Kiel, Edword Kiel’s older brother, described his brother as a "nerd" who had only met Hunter two to three weeks before the killing. He was a graduate of Harding High School, had attended college, worked for temp agencies, and would have liked to have been an attorney.

"My brother died over nothing," said Kiel’s sister, Crystal Laster.