By Kelli Stopczynski (email@example.com)
9:38 AM EST, February 25, 2013
SOUTH BEND – A St. Joseph County mother accused of not watching her kids before they died will face a second trial.
Earlier this month, a hung jury resulted in a mistrial for 25-year-old Jacqueline Wilk. Her 2- and 4-year-old sons died after she found them trapped inside the trunk of her hot car in June 2011 at their New Carlisle home.
Wilk and her parents didn’t talk to reporters Monday after learning prosecutors want to try her case a second time.
“The prosecutor’s office can do that and sometimes they do. Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said one of Wilk’s defense attorneys, Brendan Lahey. “But it's not unusual.
The decision comes a little more than two weeks after a hung jury deadlocked 5-to-7 on one neglect charge and 4-to-8 on the second – NOT to convict the young mother.
Afterward, jurors said their job wasn’t easy.
“I won’t say that it got ugly, but it was heated a little bit,” said Victoria Barhydt, a juror in the previous trial.
At just 18-years-old, Barhydt was the youngest juror in the first trial. She said the most difficult part for her was proving Wilk knew she put her kids in a dangerous situation when they slipped out of the house and crawled into the trunk of her car.
“We don’t know what she thinks. We can’t get inside her head, so the only thing we have is the evidence, you know? We have to go by that and what she said,” Barhydt added.
“I can say it was emotional, it was trying, it was very difficult,” added another juror, Rosalind Cutts, after the judge declared a mistrial.
In a taped statement four days after finding her boys trapped in the trunk, Wilk told a detective they'd played in the car 20 or 30 times before. But on the witness stand, she and her parents testified the boys never played there unsupervised. That's where jurors said they split.
A second jury is scheduled to be selected May 28 and be tasked with deciding whether what happened to those two little boys was a tragic accident or the result of their mother’s neglect.
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