UPDATE, JUNE 2, 10:06 A.M.: The murder trial of the wife and lover accused of getting a butcher to kill her husband with a machete--which, ironically, is the name of the new John Grisham novel--has ended in mistrial.
After deliberating for two days, the four-man, eight-woman jury informed Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard F. Toohey Wednesday that it was hopelessly deadlocked in reaching verdicts on Mary Katheryn Sharpski (the wife), Michael Calvin Shores II (the lover) and Antonio Cinco Ortega (the butcher).
Sharpski, a 48-year-old mother of three, is accused of conspiring with Shores, her unemployed 40-year-old lover, to get his friend Ortega, a 25-year-old Santa Ana resident, to attack Frank Richard Sharpski, 47, outside his Fountain Valley home in March 2009.
The case seemed to be a slam dunk because it was revealed a couple months after the trio's arrest that the murder plot was hatched in front of the Sharpskis' then-16-year-old daughter and that the suspects eventually confessed to the crimes.
But the prosecution did open an avenue for sympathy, building a case that Mrs. Sharpski had endured years of physical and emotional pain and conspired with Shores to have her husband bumped off so the new couple and her kids could make a fresh start in Wyoming.
The jury reportedly voted 7-5 in favor of acquitting Sharpski, 6-6 on the counts against Shores and 9-3 in favor of convicting Ortega.
Toohey set a July 1 hearing to consider a retrial. Deputy District Attorney Lynda Fernandez tells the Orange County Register's Larry Welborn that she will definitely take another go at Ortega, who she reportedly claims was linked to the attack through DNA evidence.
UPDATE, MAY 9, 12:25 P.M.: Today's trial for three accused of conspiracy and the attempted murder of a Fountain Valley man by machete was recessed again until at least tomorrow.
Michael Calvin Shores II experienced the pains and shortness of breath during Friday's opening statements and was sent to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. The judge called a recess until today, but doctors informed him Shores still needs to undergo a stress test, so the resumption of the trial is now scheduled Tuesday morning.
Shores is accused of conspiring with his 48-year-old lover to hire his butcher friend to murder her husband, who sustained a fractured skull, a severed thumb and fingers, a sliced nose and multiple machete cuts in a March 2009 attack in an alley near his home.
Like his co-defendants, Shores could get life in state prison if convicted of all the charges against him.
Defense attorneys are painting the victim, 47-year-old Frank Richard Sharpski, as a physical abuser of his wife Mary Katheryn Sharpski, and the lawyer for butcher Antonio Cinco Ortega denies the 25-year-old Santa Ana resident carried out the attack.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 4, 8:12 A.M.: Trial begins today for a 48-year-old Fountain Valley woman, her unemployed security guard lover and a butcher they allegedly hired to kill her husband with a machete.
To add further to the you-can't-make-shit-like-this-up nature of the case, the last name of the victim who was left nearly dead from dozens of machete cuts, a severed nose and several of his fingers amputated is Sharpski.
Frank and Mary Katheryn Sharpski were married with three children. Michael Calvin Shores II lost his job and needed a place to stay. The Sharpskis took the 40-year-old in.
But by the spring of 2009, Shores and Mrs. Sharpski had become lovers. They are accused of conspiring to knock off Mr. Sharpski so Shores could take over as head of the family.
They allegedly convinced Shores' good friend, butcher Antonio Cinco Ortega, 25, of Santa Ana, to bump off the hubby in exchange for cash, providing him with information on the victim's daily route.
In the early morning of March 3, 2009, Ortega is accused of attacking Frank Sharpski in an alley outside of the Sharpski home with a machete. Sharpski's skull was fractured, a thumb and fingers were severed, his nose was sliced off and he suffered several other machete wounds as he was left to die.
What saved Sharpski were his screams, which alerted neighbors to call the Fountain Valley Police Department. Officers arrived in the alley at 5:50 a.m. to find Sharpski on the ground near the carports bleeding severely and semi-conscious. He was rushed to a hospital, where he narrowly survived after undergoing several surgeries.
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Prosecutors claim forensic evidence found at the crime scene first pointed them to Ortega before the murder-for-hire plot was unraveled.
Each member of the trio are charged with one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, one felony count of mayhem, and a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury.
Ortega faces an additional sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.
Each could get life in state prison if convicted of all charges. Opening statements begin today in Santa Ana.