A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the case of a New Jersey man accused of killing his young son to keep his girlfriend happy. According to the Associated Press, Judge John Kelley declared a mistrial a day after the jury told him they couldn't agree on a verdict five days into deliberations against 23-year-old David Creato, who is accused of killing his 3-year-old son. Prosecutors said Wednesday they plan to retry the case.
Creato claimed that his son, Brendan Creato, wandered away from their Haddon Township home in 2015. But prosecutors argued that Creato killed his son because he feared his then-17-year-old girlfriend, Julia Stensky, was going to leave him, according to the AP. She allegedly told Creato that she didn’t want to be around his son and wanted him to give up custody. In a Tumblr post, written 10 weeks into her relationship with Creato, Stensky called Brendan a mistake. Over text, according to Philly.com, Creato told Stensky he would do anything for her, but he also said she needs to accept Breandan.
“He’s in my life and I will never leave him,” Creato wrote, “If you don’t accept him, you don’t accept me.”
The day of his son's death, Creato called 911 to report Brendan missing. The boy's body was found hours later in a wooded area, a mile from the home. During the trial, prosecutors said the boy's socks were clean, which would be impossible if he had wandered away from home like Creato claimed.
A medical examiner testified Brendan died from "homicidal violence" but couldn't determine where, when, or even how the boy died. According to the AP, the child’s brain showed an abnormality consistent with oxygen deprivation that can be caused by asphyxiation, drowning, or strangulation. However, it couldn't be determined with certainty which of those led to the young boy’s death.
According to Philly.com, two days before the boy died, Creato and Stensky walked through the same woods where his body was found. She later told investigators she and Creato had previously been there at least 20 to 30 times. They have since broken up.
Creato's attorney said that he will make a motion for bail and stated that Creato is upset and wants to go home to see his family.
"I am so appreciative of what the jury did. This is such a tough job. There's such sensitive facts," Creato's attorney, Richard Fuschino Jr. said. "I wouldn't say that I was surprised, but I certainly was not shocked."
Brendan would have turned 5 on Thursday.