ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – The prosecution’s first attempt to try Mason Sisk for the 2019 murder of five members of his family in Elkmont ended in a mistrial in late September.
The Limestone County District Attorney’s Office is taking the case again and both sides are preparing for what is expected to be a lengthy trial.
A mistrial was declared after prosecutors told the court midway through the trial that the crime lab was finally able to unlock Sisk’s mother’s phone. Limestone County Circuit Judge Chad Wise then ordered a mistrial, ruling that the defense had a right to examine the elements of that phone before the case could proceed.
However, Mary Sisk’s phone information isn’t the only major detail that’s expected to change when the case comes to a retrial.
Last week, Judge Wise granted the prosecution’s request to take a DNA sample from Mason Sisk. The prosecution wants to test to see if Sisk’s DNA matches traces found on the alleged murder weapon. The defense says DNA collection hasn’t happened yet.
Sisk was 14 in September 2019 when his parents and three younger siblings were killed. During his first trial in September 2022, prosecutors released a video showing Sisk confessing to the murders after a lengthy interview.
The defense argued that the information from this interview should be discarded because Sisk was interrogated for an extended period of time before he was read his rights to Miranda.
The prosecution argued that Sisk was not in police custody when he was arrested by deputies at the scene, and then sat in a van with then-Sheriff Mike Blakely , apparently without a recording device turned on to record the conversation.
A suppression hearing is scheduled for Dec. 2 regarding statements and other evidence the defense wants excluded from the scheduled retrial. This new trial is currently set for February 13.
The defense is also seeking to have its own expert examine the weapon that prosecutors say Sisk used to kill his family.
And, there remains an open question about the ability of an FBI lab or other expert to unlock Sisk’s father’s phone.
This issue and the timing of the review of the alleged murder weapon by both parties could affect the actual start of the trial.
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