DECATUR COUNTY, Iowa — Before opening statements could begin, the trial of a man charged with double murder was abruptly called off.
Patrick Thompson is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of arson for the May 2017 fire that killed his stepsister Paige Exline and her cousin Shakiah Cockerham.
Shortly after jury instructions Monday, someone came into the court room and started talking loudly about media reports involving the case. Because the conversation took place in front of jurors, the defense requested a mistrial.
Prosecutors did not object to the request.
A new trial will be scheduled.