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Mistrial declared in murder-for-hire case

Friday, November 04, 2011
Damian Flores Michelle Gaiser is behind bars, serving time for her role in hiring a hitman to kill Yvonne Stern.

There were dramatic new developments Friday in the trial of an alleged hit-man at the center of a murder-for-hire plot targeting a Bellaire socialite. A judge sent the jurors home, declaring a mistrial in the case.

Damian Flores' eyes were red as he learned there was no verdict reached by the jury. Jurors had been out since Thursday morning, sending out few notes.

Friday's note that they were not progressing was enough for the judge to call the jury in and ask them if further deliberation would change their outcome. 'No' was the unanimous answer.

Flores' sister had a quick reaction.

"They don't have (any) evidence, nothing proved on him. Nothing at all," said Sandy Flores. "Nothing at all."

"So be it for them," said Liz Tenczynski, Yvonne Stern's sister, when asked about the deadlocked jurors.

And as far as how Yvonne is taking Friday's developments, Tenczynski said, "She's strong. She's going to be OK. Of course, she's disappointed. We all are."

Flores was accused of shooting Yvonne Stern in the stomach in May of last year. Prosecutors allege Flores was hired by the mistress of Jeffrey Stern to kill Stern's wife. After two days of deliberations, the jury could not reach a verdict, ending in a 6-6 deadlock.

The prosecution told Eyewitness News they will retry Flores sometime next year.

While deliberating today, jurors asked to be read back testimony from both Yvonne Stern and Officer Segelski regarding the live lineup from which Flores was picked. Just before 3pm, the jury announced they're deadlocked at 6-6 and unable to reach a unamimous decision. A few minutes later, a mistrial was declared.

ABC News' Ryan Owens sat down with Yvonne Stern's sisters Thursday to talk about the woman at the center of this case -- a woman who filed for divorce from Jeffrey Stern, but then changed her mind.

"There's many men that have affairs, but of course their women are not attempted to be murdered. But this is a very unique situation," Liz said. "It's an affair, an as and basically that is how she sees it -- as an affair. She forgives him for the affair. She doesn't believe he had anything to do with the plot."

If he had been convicted, Flores could have faced life in prison.

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