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BLOOMINGTON -- A mistrial was declared Friday after a McLean County jury failed to reach a verdict in the case against a former jailer charged with custodial misconduct and intimidation of three former female inmates of the county jail.

Robert C. Hall, 36, of Normal was accused of engaging in sexual conduct with two inmates in 2006 and 2007 and threatening a third in 2008.

The jury of 11 women and one man returned to the courtroom shortly before 5 p.m. and confirmed a note that "jurors on both sides of all three accusations have stated they could not in good conscience change their mind" on a possible verdict.

The panel deliberated about 10 hours over two days. Judge Charles Reynard called the mistrial after the deadlock.

Defense lawyer Stephanie Wong said she was not surprised with the jury's struggle.

"It became more evident this was going to be a hung jury after three hours because it is a credibility issue. I'm not surprised at all there would be great difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict," said Wong.

Assistant State's Attorney Bill Workman and McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery declined to comment.

Late Friday morning, the jury submitted a note saying a deadlock existed but Reynard told the panel to resume deliberations. An audible sigh was expressed by some jurors as they left the courtroom for a lunch break before returning to work.

In three days of testimony, the jury heard from six former female prisoners who recounted allegations of molestation, threats and attempts to engage in sexual activity by Hall.

Wong urged jurors to weigh the credibility of the women whose criminal records include forgery, theft and drug offenses. She also criticized the sheriff's department investigation in the case, saying more could have done to corroborate the accusations.

Workman argued that five of the six witnesses left the jail without filing a complaint related to Hall. Their accusations were made -- in some cases reluctantly -- after investigators contacted the women, he said.

The intimidation charge is based upon a complaint filed by a woman who accused Hall of threatening her if she filed a report about his alleged misconduct. Hall was placed on leave, arrested and fired from his post in 2008.

A July 16 hearing is set to review the status of the case.


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