On Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, the jury ended its third day of deliberations without a unanimous verdict in the murder of Travis Harold, in which Hiddenite resident Jason Dean Clary is the defendant. A mistrial was declared, according to court officials.
Clary is charged with murder in the shooting death of Travis Dean Edward Harold, age 35 of Hiddenite, in the driveway of Clary’s home on April 11, 2016.
State witness testimony continued for most of last week. Closing arguments were held on Monday, September 10.
Defense attorney Robert Campbell told the court that Clary saw three people in his driveway, including Travis Harold, friend Teddy Bentley, and a third person in their vehicle (later identified as Sandra Beard, Harold’s girlfriend. Campbell told jurors that Clary knew Harold’s reputation for violence and felt threatened, as Harold was holding a metal pipe.
The State’s case, presented by District Attorney Sarah Kirkman and Assistant District Attorney Carrie Nitzu, maintains that Harold went to the defendant to tell Clary to stop threatening his nephew, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Travis’ mother, Norma Harold. The State evidence included many cell phone text messages sent by Clary to Harold family members, which prosecutors characterized as being threatening in nature. The State also noted Clary sent a text to Rosenbaum even after Clary fatally shot Travis Harold.
The defense maintains that Travis Harold, who had a reputation for settling scores for his relatives, went to Clary to convince Clary, by violent means, to stop contacting the Harold family.
Campbell said Clary shot Harold while in fear for his life and his girlfriend, defending his home and driveway. It was noted a muzzleloading rifle was used by Clary, and this type of firearm can misfire, which meant that Clary might then have had to defend himself against 3 people.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Martin McGee, of Concord, who is hearing the case, gave the jury instructions of possible verdicts: first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and not guilty. Deliberation began late Monday afternoon, about 4:30 p.m., but adjourned until Tuesday morning.
Jurors asked twice to view evidence on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The first instance was when a number of jurors asked to pick up and hold the metal pipe that victim Travis Harold, the deceased, was holding as he stood in Clary’s driveway on the fateful day of the shooting.
The second instance was when jurors asked to review a video of the fatal shooting, which was recorded by Clary’s girlfriend, Brittany Gilbert.