City man found not guilty on lesser counts, but jury deadlocks on DV felony charge

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Michael McNeil during testimony on Tuesday (Rochester Voice photo)

DOVER - A Rochester man and former Middleton Police Officer was found not guilty of two counts of criminal mischief and simple assault in a 2019 domestic violence case today, but no verdict could be reached on the felony charge of criminal threatening, the most serious charge that carries up to a seven-year prison sentence.

Judge Daniel E. Will called a mistrial on the final charge and a status hearing was tentatively scheduled for around the end of October.

Both defense counsel David Betancourt and prosecutor Keith Blair refused comment after the verdicts, and Will said he would be polling the jury to get a sense of how the sides broke down on the criminal threatening charge, but that will not be made public.

It is not clear at this time whether the state will seek to reindict Michael McNeil Jr., who also declined to comment on the case saying it wouldn't be proper at this time.

The three-day trial had been scheduled through Thursday, but closing arguments ended up finishing around 10 a.m. today after which Will spent about an hour giving out final instructions before the jury began deliberating around 11 a.m.

By 1:30 p.m the jury had reached agreement on all charges but the criminal threatening and were told to continue deliberations, but an hour later word came there was no likelihood a unanimous decision could be reached.

McNeil had been accused of breaking a picture, kicking a refrigerator and grabbing his longtime girlfriend's wrist during an argument the night of June 12, 2019, but was found not guilty.

The lone charge remaining is for alleged criminal threatening in which he is accused of threatening her life and showing a handgun as he did.


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