Michael Kiefer The Arizona Republic Mar. 31, 2006 12:00 AM
The hit-and-run trial of Reem Bishara ended Thursday with a hung jury and no indication whether the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will retry her.
But the jurors did find Bishara guilty of underage drinking and driving, a misdemeanor that she did not contest.
Bishara, 20, left the courthouse with nothing to say except that she planned to go home and sleep.
The jury slipped past the throng of reporters; two, who refused to give their names, would say only that the jurors had deadlocked 7-1 in favor of conviction.
And the Mesa police detective who investigated the incident said the jury had fretted over the definition of "accident," and whether one or two accidents had occurred.
Glenn DeGain, father of the victim, said he was surprised the judge did not ask the jury to deliberate longer, but he was not surprised at the verdict.
"This has been one fiasco after another, and I expect there will be more," he said.
Police said that on Sept. 15, after a night of drinking, Bishara was following her friend Muneerah Al-Tarrah on Alma School Road in Mesa when Al-Tarrah's car struck and killed Todd DeGain, 35.
Authorities said DeGain's body was thrown over the top of Al-Tarrah's car; Bishara swerved and struck the deck of the skateboard. Al-Tarrah then smashed into a pole and drove off again before being stopped by police.
Both women were arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
At issue in the trial was whether Bishara saw the accident - she said she didn't and was following her friend to make her pull over - and whether or not she was "involved" in the accident or had only run over debris.
Al-Tarrah fled the country rather than go to trial; she is scheduled to be tried in absentia starting April 10.
Bishara has been subpoenaed as a witness in Al-Tarrah's trial, and Bishara's attorney, Larry Kazan, thinks that the result of that trial will influence whether or not Bishara is retried.
"I'm not sure they'll retry my client and spend this kind of money if they get a conviction for Al-Tarrah," he said.