LAWRENCE, Mass. — The trial of a 76-year-old Alabama man accused of the 1988 killing of an 11-year-old girl in Massachusetts ended Wednesday with a judge declaring a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury.
Marvin C. McClendon Jr. had pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in connection with the death of Melissa Ann Tremblay.
McClendon was arrested last year, decades after Tremblay disappeared. McClendon was linked to the killing through DNA evidence, according to the prosecutor.
McClendon’s lawyer Henry Fasoldt said his client appreciated the jury being “deliberate and thoughtful” and looks forward to trying the case again.
“Mr. McClendon maintains his innocence and I believe he’s innocent,” Fasoldt said.
A spokesperson for the Essex County District Attorney’s office said they plan to retry McClendon.
No new trial date has been set.
Tremblay, of Salem, New Hampshire, was found in a Lawrence trainyard on Sept. 12, 1988, the day after she was reported missing. She had been stabbed and her body had been run over by a train, authorities said.
The victim had accompanied her mother and her mother’s boyfriend to a Lawrence social club not far from the railyard and went outside to play while the adults stayed inside, authorities said last year. She was reported missing later that night.
Lawrence and Salem are just a few miles apart.
McClendon, a former employee of the Massachusetts prisons department, lived near Lawrence in Chelmsford and was doing carpentry work at the time of the killing, authorities said. He worked and attended church in Lawrence.