MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - After six weeks in federal court, a huge murder for hire trial could end in a mistrial.
Martin and Clinton Lewis are charged in connection with the Craig Petties drug enterprise. The two cousins are accused hit men for the Memphis-based organization.
Monday morning the defense was supposed to begin presenting its case; instead they filed a motion for a mistrial. The jurors were dismissed, and now it's up to the judge to determine if this trial will continue.
Defense lawyers for Martin and Clinton Lewis argued that the government didn't disclose information that a key witness recanted his statements in enough time for them to adjust their defense strategy.
The issue is around witness Temarcus Cartwright. He was expected to testify that Clinton Lewis gave him the gun that was used to kill Marcus Turner right after the murder. But, the government rested its case last week without calling Cartwright as a witness.
Government prosecutors said before the trial began Cartwright changed his story, saying someone else gave him the murder weapon. That wasn't disclosed to the defense, and they told the judge they would have handled everything from cross examination to opening statements differently had they been made aware of the recantation.
Cartwright was called to the stand Monday afternoon to speak with the judge and lawyers without the jury present.