Mistrial for Guam man accused of killing mother; prosecution vows to seek new trial


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HAGATNA, Guam — A Guam judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the case against a man charged with killing his 55-year-old mother.

Jury members weren't able to reach a unanimous decision in the case against Allan Agababa, courts acting administrator Josh Tenorio said.

Agababa was indicted on one count of aggravated murder in the death of his mother, Shelly Bernstein, The Pacific Daily News (http://bit.ly/1v9k7xy) reported.

The trial began in mid-October. The jury began deliberations on Oct. 31.

Prosecutors will seek a new trial, attorney general spokeswoman Carlina Charfauros said. "We still believe very strongly in our case," Charfauros said.

Agababa's attorney, F. Randall Cunliffe, could not be reached for comment. Agababa's defense has argued Bernstein's death was accidental.

An autopsy found Agababa's mother died of blunt-force trauma to her head. The autopsy also found six adhesive patches of the drug Fentanyl on her body. Fentanyl is an opiate Bernstein was using to treat chronic back pain.

Dr. Aurelio Espinola, the territory's chief medical examiner, said the six patches would result in an overdose.

Court documents say Agababa says he found his mother's body early in the morning. The documents say he told his neighbor someone had broken into her home but didn't call emergency officials himself.

Bernstein worked at United Airlines as a flight attendant. Prosecutors say Agababa called the airline hours after his mother died to ask about her death benefits.

Information from: Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.com

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