State

Mistrial for man accused of drowning his wife in 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2013
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A West Texas man accused of killing his wife in Colorado in 2008 was free on bond Sunday after a judge declared a mistrial when jurors were deadlocked four days after deliberations began.

Frederick Harold Mueller was released late Saturday in Gunnison, Colo., the San Angelo Standard-Times reported Sunday. He had been jailed in Colorado for more than a year.

The panel began deliberating Wednesday and was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal Saturday.

Prosecutors now will decide whether to retry the case. The judge has scheduled a Feb. 19 conference to see how prosecutors want to proceed. A tentative trial date was set for April 29.

Mueller, 51, is suspected in the drowning death of Dr. Leslie Mueller. An obituary had described her drowning in a creek as a hiking accident near their vacation home in Lake City, Colo., about 55 miles south of Gunnison.

The Montrose Daily Press in Colorado has reported that Frederick Mueller told investigators that on May 3, 2008, his wife was standing near the edge of an embankment when her puppy was startled by a passing bluebird, and she lost her footing. He says she hit a granite slab below, then slid into a stream.

Investigators say Leslie Mueller's injuries weren't consistent with that story.

Frederick Mueller's attorneys say prosecutors have offered no proof he killed his wife.

During closing arguments, prosecutors said that Mueller held his wife's head under water to drown her, then positioned her body under a log in a way nature never could have done, the Montrose paper reported.

Mueller was released on $150,000 bond and ordered to surrender his passport.
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