CLEVELAND — A mistrial has been declared for three defendants charged in connection with the death of 22-year-old Alishah Pointer.
3News received the following statement from Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Monday morning:
"Prior to the trial resuming this morning, there was a motion for mistrial. Court staff had sent a procedural communication to the parties, which was inadvertently sent only to the prosecutors. Because this could be considered ex-parte communication, out of an abundance of caution, the Court granted the mistrial and the Judge recused himself from the case."
"Please check the on-line docket for updates."
The trial was being held before Judge John Russo. The next court date has not yet been set.
The mistrial comes just one week after jury selection started in the case for the following suspects:
- Anthony Bryant
- Brittany Smith
- Hakeem-Ali Shomo
Each is facing charges of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault and kidnapping.
Three others arrested in the case — Destiny Henderson, Portria Williams and Nathaniel Poke Jr. — previously pleaded guilty and are all awaiting sentencing, which is set for Monday, March 27.
According to the prosecutor's office, on Nov. 4, 2021, it is believed that Pointer was forced to get in a car at gunpoint, taken to a residence, then held for a day before being taken to an abandoned house in East Cleveland, then shot and killed.
East Cleveland police officers and members of the FBI found her body days later on Nov. 9.
Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous story on March 6, 2023.
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