Prosecutor: Plea deal possible in Capote assault case | SteamboatToday.com

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Prosecutor: Plea deal possible in Capote assault case

Eduardo Capote listens to testimony Feb. 4 about the night Richard Lopez was seriously injured in a street fight that led to his death. Prosecutors say a plea deal is not out of the question for Eduardo Capote after a jury deadlocked on one of his charges.

— Prosecutors are not ruling out the option of coming to a plea agreement with Eduardo Capote after a jury deadlocked on a charge of second-degree assault.

Capote initially was charged with second- and third-degree assault after a fight in downtown Steamboat Springs on the night of Jan. 1, 2009, that led to Richard Lopez's death. Eduardo's brother, David Capote, also was charged with third-degree assault in connection with the fight. A jury found both brothers not guilty of the third-degree assault charges but could not reach a decision on Eduardo Capote's more serious charge. Two additional charges of third-degree assault were dismissed in the middle of the trial.

After the jury announced a deadlock Feb. 10, after more than a week of trial and a day and a half of deliberations, prosecutors immediately scheduled a retrial for May.

Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle, who prosecuted the case with District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham, said the DA's office has been in contact with the Capotes' attorneys.

"When you have a hung jury like that, it's always a possibility," Prindle said about a plea deal.

After the trial ended, jurors reported that seven of the members wanted to find Eduardo Capote not guilty and that five wanted to find him guilty.

Prindle said because the jury was almost evenly split, it would "rise to the level where a compromise might be appropriate."

Prindle declined to discuss any potential plea deals further because nothing has been decided.

The Capotes' attorneys, Charles Feldmann and George Brauchler, were not available Tuesday. A representative from their office said they were in court in Denver.