Mistrial declared in Cartwright case

A lone juror left 12 hopelessly deadlocked and mistrial was declared in the trial of a Trenton man accused of 28 sex crimes against victims as young as 4.

After two days of testimony and one of deliberation, the foreman of the 12-person panel was the only one who did not believe that Harold B. Cartwright III was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of all counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and committing a lewd act upon a minor.

Testimony at trial framed Cartwright as a predator who sexually abused three girls over the course of more than 20 years. The alleged attacks were against the girls when one was as young as 4 years old.

Cartwright professed that the charges were fabricated as revenge for his finding pornographic pictures on the Internet featuring one of the alleged victims. She, however, said it was not her in the pair of pictures. An Aiken County Sheriff's Office investigator also testified that it was not the victim in the pictures.

As the case did not end with a verdict, it can be prosecuted again.

Second Circuit Solicitor J. Strom Thurmond Jr. said that his office would need to evaluate; but as of Thursday afternoon, they said they will look to bring the case again. Cartwright had been in Aiken County detention center since his 2011 arrest. He will remain incarcerated until a future jury reaches a verdict, the charges are dropped or a bond is set by a Circuit Court Judge.

The juror who was not convinced by the evidence said it was a "he said, she said," case and that he found neither the defendant nor the alleged victims credible. He added that the DNA evidence, where semen matching the defendant was found on one victim's bedsheets, "did not prove anything" as "it could have come from anywhere."

An expert in forensic DNA analysis from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division testified that there was a 1 in 16 trillion chance of the semen sample not being from Cartwright.

Speaking outside, a male juror initially had no comment and walked away. However, he then spun around and exclaimed, "That bastard was guilty! And you can print that."

Several members of the jury expressed anger and frustration at the foreman's view of the case. Two or three made efforts to apologize to the victims.

"I believe everything you said in there, I am so sorry for this," a female juror, who also did not wish to be named, said to one victim and her family. "I am just sorry."

Outside of the courtroom, the victims and their families were distraught. Many were sobbing, wandering around the parking lot and onto the adjacent Park Avenue.