SANTA ANA ( — A judge Thursday declared a mistrial in the case involving an Irvine attorney accused of helping his wife frame a PTA volunteer at his son’s school.

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Jurors in the trial of Kent Easter were deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction even after Orange County Superior Court Judge Carla M. Singer sent them home Wednesday and gave additional instructions on the difference between felony and misdemeanor charges, officials said.

Easter was accused of planting drugs in the car of PTA volunteer Kelli Peters on Feb. 16, 2011, and later reporting to police she was driving erratically.

Easter testified he was in bed due to complications from a recent surgery at the time the drugs were planted, according to authorities.

His attorney argued his wife, Jill Easter, planted the drugs and goaded him into making the phone call.

She pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and will serve 120 days in jail starting Dec. 27 and is required to perform 100 hours of community service.

Jury foreman Gary Capozzoli told KCAL9’s Michele Gile he is “frustrated” jurors were unable to reach a verdict after one female juror insisted she would not be changing her decision.

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“She believed that he believed that what his wife was telling him was the truth. We — the 11 other jurors … had serious doubt,” Capozzoli said.

The district attorney is considering whether or not Kent Easter will be tried again.


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