TUCSON, Ariz. - It was a trial that focused national attention on Arizona -- and the border issues here.
And it ended with a split that reflects the conflict over immigration.
Two-thirds of the jurors in the trial of border activist Scott Warren were ready to vote him not guilty but the judge in the case declared a mistrial when jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict. so now the case against him could be tried all over again.
A crowd of supporters greeted Scott Warren as he left the Tucson Federal Courthouse.
He's an activist with No More Deaths, an organization that offers food and water to immigrants to help them survive their treks through the desert.
But prosecutors told jurors Warren helped illegal immigrants, and claimed he broke the law by allowing them to stay at a building near Ajo where No More Deaths centered some of its efforts.
After two weeks of testimony, jurors spent part of Friday, and all of Monday trying to decide whether Warren is innocent or guilty. Late Monday they told Federal Judge Raner Collins they could not agree on a unanimous verdict. He told them to keep trying. Finally about 1:30 Tuesday the judge conceded a hung jury and ordered a mistrial.
Prosecutors are not commenting.
After the mistrial, Warren said while immigrants die in the desert, the government cracks down on activists who just want to keep people alive.
“The government's plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis: policies to target undocumented people, refugees and their families, prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness and solidarity.”
Warren's attorney Greg Kuykendall, says the jury's inability to agree on a verdict leaves Warren an innocent man.
"The government put on its best case with the full force of countless resources, and 12 jurors could not agree with that case. We remain devoted today in our commitment to defend Scott's lifelong devotion to providing humanitarian aid."
And that defense may need to continue. The mistrial gives the government the ability to prosecute Warren on the same charges again and prosecutors have not said what they will do.