Z-AP-STATE-NEWS

Jul 2, 2010 10:05 PM

Judge declares mistrial in murder case

PHOENIX (AP) A mistrial has been declared in the case involving an ex-convict accused in the 1997 slaying of a Glendale woman whose body was dumped in a Goodyear irrigation ditch.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 42-year-old Alfredo Garcia Paez had been on trial for first-degree murder.

After nine days of testimony and deliberations, jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Judge Joseph Welty declared a mistrial and has set July 13 as the date for scheduling a new trial.

Paez was arrested in May 2009 after DNA linked him to the slaying of 24-year-old Avelina Contreras, who was stabbed and strangled. Her body was found in June 1997 and authorities say she had been dead for about two days.

Paez, a Mexican national who lived in Phoenix, previously served five years on drug charges at the state prison in Buckeye.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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