Mistrial Declared In Garcia Murder Trial

The murder trial for a Bay St. Louis man, ended before it really even started. Circuit Court Judge Jerry Terry Declared a mistrial late this afternoon during jury selection James Fritz Garcia was scheduled to go on trial for the March 1997 murder of Ruth Tuller.

Authorities say Tuller was stabbed more than 80 times. Judge Terry gave no reason for the mistrial, but placed a gag order on attorneys in the case.

Before the gag order, defense attorneys told WLOX NEWS they were having a tough time finding potential jurors who hadn't heard about the case. The case landed back in the news just last month when Hancock County Sheriff's officials discovered the murder weapon was missing from the county evidence locker.

At a news conference last month, District Attorney Cono Caranna and Sheriff Steve Garber said the evidence had been accidentally thrown out with the trash. Because of the gag order placed on the case, prosecuting attorneys could not say if or when they would bring the case back to trial.

Authorities say Garcia had been living with Tuller in her Hancock County home for several months before she was murdered