CAMDEN, N.J. (WTXF) - Prosecutors in Camden County, New Jersey, said Wednesday they will retry David "DJ" Creato in the death of his 3-year-old son, Brendan, after a jury deadlocked in his first murder trial.
"The jury is not in a position to be able to reach consensus or a unanimous verdict in this matter," said judge John Kelley from the bench Wednesday morning.
Jurors had for days debated the charges against the 23-year-old defendant: murder and endangering the welfare of a child. Creato showed little emotion but his mother could be seen wiping away tears.
"DJ is upset," said defense attorney Richard J. Fuschino, Jr. to reporters outside the courthouse. "I mean, he wanted to go home today. He wanted to be with his family. He hasn't seen his family in person, out of the courtroom, for a year and a half and it's heartbreaking for all of them."
"I just woke up and he wasn't in my home," said Creato in a 911 call to police on the morning of October 13, 2015. "I don't know if he wandered out or what happened. I don't know where he is. The door was locked. I guess he unlocked it and left."
Creato and little Brendan shared a Haddon Township apartment. Three hours after that 911 call, the boy's body was found in a creek in a wooded area about 3/4 of a mile away. Evidence suggested he been placed there.
Jurors asked to review the video of police notifying Creato of his son's death four times -- in retrospect, a hint they were stuck.
In the video, Creato seems to react with horror at the news, wailing, "Nooo! No! No! No!"
Prosecutors believe Creato killed his son because Brendan had gotten in the way of his relationship with a teenage girlfriend, Julia Stensky. The two were in constant communication, but prosecutors could not produce any text messages suggesting Creato was willing to do away with his son. Nor did they have any eyewitnesses to the crime or a specific cause of Brendan's death.
Neither prosecutor Christine Shah nor Brendan's mother Samantha Denoto would comment to reporters following declared mistrial, but Fuschino had an explanation for the jury deadlock;
"No evidence. No direct evidence. I really believe they could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Judge Kelly has ordered a July 5 hearing, at which time the next step in the legal process will be discussed.