A judge declared a mistrial in the 18-year-old murder case of Mohammed Monie on Tuesday after a police chief accidentally revealed the defendant’s criminal history on the stand.
It was the second day of testimony in the trial.
“One of the witnesses said something they had been instructed not to say concerning the defendant’s past,” Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini said. “It was a mistake. These things happen. It was completely inadvertent.”
Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed that the witness who misspoke was Kensington police Chief Greg Harmon.
Harmon was one of the Daly City police detectives who investigated the killing of Bobby Perruquet in 1989. Monie has been charged with first-degree murder with the special circumstance of robbery in connection with Perruquet’s death. He faces life in prison without parole.
On the stand Tuesday, Harmon described questioning Monie and inadvertently revealed to the jury that Monie was on probation for misdemeanor drunken driving at the time of the killing.
“The court felt that was sufficiently prejudicial, that the jury would not be able to keep this out of its mind,” Wagstaffe said.
Prosecutors will retry the case “as soon as the court will permit,” Giannini said. A Tuesday court date has been set to schedule a new trial.
The case was closely watched due to its unusual circumstances. Perruquet’s body has never been found and prosecutors admit Monie didn’t shoot the 25-year-old victim. Neither DNA evidence nor fingerprints have tied Monie, now 40, to the crime scene.
Prosecutors contend Jesse Rodriguez, who confessed in 2005 to fatally shooting Perruquet, killed him at Monie’s direction. At the time of the killing, Rodriguez was a 14-year-old boy who idolized the then 21-year-old Monie, prosecutors said. Monie allegedly provided the boy with liquor and drugs.
Rodriguez, who was never prosecuted due to his age and the time that had elapsed since the crime, was scheduled to testify against Monie.
Monie’s attorney, Connie O’Brien, did not return calls for comment.