Mistrial declared for man accused of killing 2 at Rooster’s restaurant in Louisville

Mistrial declared for man accused of killing 2 at Rooster’s restaurant in Louisville
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 2:29 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A mistrial was declared Tuesday within three hours in the case of a man accused of killing two people at a Louisville restaurant back in 2021 just days before Christmas.

Karson Reitz was charged with murder after police said he shot and killed 48-year-old Michael Miller and 51-year-old Bradley Cross at a Rooster’s restaurant on Preston Highway.

Reitz’s lawyers say the shooting was done in self-defense after a fight broke out between Miller, who was a former LMPD officer, and Reitz’s father, John.

According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Cross’s wife in 2022, John and his son Karson were at the restaurant together, when John “instigated, and was involved in a physical altercation and fight with another Roosters regular patron.”

Police said Reitz ran toward the fight with a gun in his waistband, eventually pulling it out. They said Cross stepped in after the fact, before getting shot. Attorneys for Reitz claimed he only jumped in with a gun when he feared for his father’s safety, and only pulled the trigger when he feared for his own life.

The fight broke out in front of several people, including children.

Reitz was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and four counts of wanton endangerment. He was released from jail on bond in March 2022 and placed on home incarceration.

The defense team argued the police made a major mistake, never searching Miller’s phone. On it, they said police would have found evidence Miller repeatedly harassed the Reitz family with threatening texts.

The defense said those started after the families suffered a falling out when Miller’s affair with a 17-year-old who was dating Karson’s brother was discovered. They told jurors Miller was violent, had been fired from LMPD and had been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army.

Prosecutors objected repeatedly, getting up to confer with the judge about what the defense could say.

The judge had sent the jury out of the courtroom several times and at one point angrily told the lawyers to discuss an issue with her in her chambers.

It turns out prosecutors had filed a motion before the trial to limit these types of statements. The judge had waited to see how they would come out once the trial began.

Ruling from the bench, the judge said she could not remove some of the statements from the jurors’ minds and declared the mistrial.

A new trial date has not yet been set.

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