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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mistrial Declaired After Lawyer Loses 'Train Of Thought'

FARMVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A judge declared a mistrial in an attempted-murder case after the defense lawyer said he couldn't continue his closing statement because he had lost his train of thought. Judge Ernest P. Gates Sr. also suggested that attorney James E. Sheffield seek medical help.

Gates declared the mistrial Thursday in the case of a man accused of shooting a police officer in the leg in 2005.

Sheffield, 74, a former judge, returned from a recess to say that he could not continue the closing argument.

Russell Smith, charged with attempted capital murder, malicious wounding and use of a firearm, offered to finish the job himself.

"This is about me," he told Gates.

The judge warned against it, and Smith requested the mistrial.

© 2007 The Associated Press

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