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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New trial in overdose death ends in hung jury

Jake Schild McClatchy-Tribune

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The trial of Brenda Zillyette, accused of providing drugs that led to the overdose death of an 18-year-old Elma man in 2009, ended Thursday when the jury was unable to arrive at a verdict.

It was the second trial for Zillyette, whose conviction in 2009 was overturned by the state Supreme Court. She already has served four and a half years in prison and was released in 2013.

Prosecuting attorney Gerald Fuller said he will request a new trial.

In the recent trial, deliberation began Wednesday afternoon after a day and a half of trial proceedings. During deliberations, the jury asked to see medical reports for 18-year-old Austin Burrows, who had methadone, Xanax, hydroxyalprazolam and aminoclonazepam in his system at the time of his death, according to a toxicology report.

Dr. Jennifer Sounders, who worked on the case, stated in the report that Burrows’ death was due to acute methadone intoxication. The report also explained that it is not possible to determine the timing of drug use or quantity in Burrows’ blood levels post mortem.

The jury’s foreman was the dissenting vote in the 11-1 decision.

In 2013, the state Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution failed to specify what substances Zillyette allegedly provided to Burrows.

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