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LaPorte County Courthouse

The LaPorte County Courthouse in downtown LaPorte is known for its extensive use of decorative wood and stained glass. This is the jury box in the circuit court courtroom.

Doug Ross, The Times

LaPORTE — A jury was not able to reach a verdict Friday in the murder trial of a Michigan City man in a case plagued by legal challenges and findings of misconduct.

LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos ruled a mistrial after jurors were no closer to a unanimous decision following more than five hours of deliberation.

Prosecutors will now have to decide whether to retry the case.

Brian Taylor, 24, was accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend, Simone Bush, inside the home of her grandparents in March 2014 in the 600 block of County Line Road.

The evidence showed Taylor was in the bedroom with Bush after spending the night when the gun went off during a possible dispute but the defense claimed there was absolutely no proof who pulled the trigger.

David Thomas, a special prosecutor from Vigo County, said the evidence did reveal the barrel of the gun was pressed against the neck of the victim, whose back was against a wall.

And the opinion of the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy was someone other than the victim pulled the trigger, he said.

Thomas also linked Taylor to a Facebook post about not being satisfied with the sexual relationship to try and establish motive.

With the body slumped against the bedroom door, Thomas said the defendant left through a bedroom window he stopped to close before leaving without telling anyone inside or calling for help.

He went straight to his mother's house and soon was escorted to the police station by his grandfather, who told officers ''he's in your custody now.''

Defense attorney Craig Braje said prosecutors, lacking actual proof, could only insinuate guilt.

''What you've been given is an opportunity to speculate,'' Braje said.

He said the gun could have went off during a struggle, and Taylor, showing he had nothing to hide, did not remove his bloody clothing before showing up at the police station.

Braje said investigators, assuming Taylor did it, charged him without a statement from the defendant or any other hard evidence and prior to him speaking with an attorney.

Some evidence gathered from eavesdropping on the defendant and his attorney was thrown out in a legal challenge taken to the Indiana Supreme Court, which also suspended the license to practice law of then-Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Neary for eavesdropping in this case and a homicide at Long Beach in 2012.

Due to the legal dispute, Taylor was ordered released on his own recognizance to await trial and later was involved in the firing of about a dozen gunshots at teenagers who were not injured.

He was given a four-year prison sentence for criminal recklessness in connection to the gunfire.