Domestic Violence Slaying Ends in Mistrial
Posted March 14, 2007 4:12 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the case of a man accused of chasing his wife through a north Raleigh neighborhood and killing her two years ago.
Michael Massenburg is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of his 34-year-old estranged wife, Toni Massenburg, in May 2005. Investigators said he chased his wife's minivan on several residential streets before running her off the road, and he then beat her and strangled her with her seatbelt.
Jurors deadlocked 6-6 between convicting him of first- or second-degree murder and couldn't reach a unanimous verdict after several hours of deliberations, leading Superior Court Judge Howard Manning to declare a mistrial.
Massenburg is being held without bond at Central Prison, pending a retrial.
Police said Massenburg confessed to killing his wife as officers arrived at the scene of what they thought was a fatal traffic accident.
Defense attorney Kevin Byrd implied during jury selection Monday that Toni Massenburg died after her seatbelt malfunctioned and not because of her husband.
Two months prior to her death, Toni Massenburg took out a restraining order against her husband. But because they shared custody of their three children, they continued to have contact.
The Massenburg children are being cared for by Toni Massenburg's sister and Michael Massenburg's parents.