Murder trial ends in hung jury, again

Murder trial ends in hung jury, again

URBANA — For the second time, a Champaign County jury has been unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the case of a Rantoul man accused of murder.

After deliberating about nine hours Thursday, jurors hearing the case of Steven Monroe, 28, told Judge John Kennedy they could not agree on whether he was responsible for the Jan. 7, 2011, murder of Marcus "Boo Man" Brown, 21.

Kennedy then declared a mistrial and continued the case for July 9. Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said he would decide later if he'll retry Monroe.

Mr. Brown was fatally shot in his apartment at the Bell Apartments on U.S. 136 east of Rantoul.

Two other men — Roy Duckworth, 27, and Joseph Emery, 33, — are in custody and awaiting trial.

This week's trial on the murder charge was the third for Monroe. Two earlier attempts ended in mistrials, one because the jury couldn't come to a unanimous verdict and the other because some jurors expressed unhappiness that their names had been recited aloud in the courtroom during jury selection, prompting the judge to dismiss the entire jury and start again.

Monroe, who last lived on Perimeter Road, is already serving a 30-year prison sentence that Judge Tom Difanis gave him in January for unlawful use of weapons by a felon. Monroe was convicted of that for shooting Dennis Droughns in the back in a car on Heath Drive in Rantoul on the night of Jan. 7, 2011.

It was the gun used to shoot Droughns that authorities linked to the shooting of Mr. Brown.

Monroe has been represented by Urbana attorney Jim Dedman.