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Jury in Leyritz trial to resume deliberations after declaring deadlock

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • "We have reached a stalemate," a jury note said
  • Judge asks the jurors to resume deliberating
  • Leyritz could get up to 15 years in prison for killing a woman while allegedly driving drunk

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (CNN) -- A South Florida jury in the DUI manslaughter case of ex-baseball player Jim Leyritz said Friday that they were deadlocked, but agreed to resume deliberations after Judge Marc H. Gold asked them to do so.

"We have reached a stalemate," said a note read to the court by Gold at 6 p.m. Friday. "We have completely decided that we will not agree on this decision. How do we proceed?"

Gold asked the six jurors to return to the jury room. "Then, taking turns, tell each of the other jurors about any weaknesses in your own opinion that you believe there may be. You should not interrupt each other, comment on each other's views until each of you has had a chance, until each of you has spoken. After you have done that, if you simply cannot reach a verdict, you will return to the courtroom and I will declare this case a mistrial and I will discharge you with my sincere appreciation for your services."

Gold then sent the jurors home, and they will resume deliberating Saturday morning.

The jury, in its second day of deliberations, could sentence Leyritz to as many as 15 years in prison for hitting and killing a woman while allegedly driving drunk.

The former baseball star is charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter while driving drunk in the 2007 wreck.

According to court documents, the incident began as a night-time celebration for Leyritz, who was ringing in his 44th birthday with friends by bar-hopping in Fort Lauderdale.

While driving a friend home shortly after 3 a.m. on December 28, 2007, his red 2006 Ford Expedition hit the vehicle of 30-year-old Freida Veitch. She was thrown from her dark green 2000 Mitsubishi Montero.

Blood drawn from Leyritz three hours later showed he had 0.14 percent blood alcohol level, above the 0.08 legal limit in Florida. He also failed field sobriety tests, according to police.

Veitch was also drunk -- with a 0.18 blood alcohol level -- and was not wearing her seat belt, according to court documents.

Leyritz played 11 years in the major leagues, including all or parts of eight seasons with the New York Yankees. His career highlight came in 1996, when he hit a winning home run in game four of the World Series. He also hit pivotal homers during the 1995, 1998 and 1999 postseasons.

He remained in the limelight after his career ended in 2000, appearing on national and New York-based radio programs.

If convicted, under Florida law, Leyritz faces a minimum of four years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison.