Jury weighing dad's fate returning for deliberations

James Marshall
June 4, 2017

A mistrial has been declared in the case of a New Jersey man accused of killing his three-year-old son after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Creato, 23, displayed little emotion upon hearing the decision.

Prosecutors had maintained Creato killed his son because he feared his 17-year-old girlfriend, who was away at college, was going to leave him.

"DJ's upset. He wanted to go home today. He wanted to be with his family", the attorney said. There's such sensitive facts, ' Fuschino said.

Fuschino is trying to get Creato's bail reduced so he can go home.

"I really think they couldn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt", he said.

'I am so appreciative of what the jury did.

The defense argued that Creato was the victim of a flawed police investigation and that authorities had no direct evidence - only circumstantial - to link Creato to his son's death. A police dog tracked the boy's scent to Cooper River Park around 9 a.m. Through texts and blog spots, they showed that Creato and Stensky had a tense relationship.

Judge John T. Kelley had ordered jurors to keep deliberating after they informed him late Tuesday afternoon they were struggling to reach a verdict. A conference has been scheduled for July 5 to revisit the matter. The Camden County Prosecutor's Office says it plans to retry the case.

A retired police captain said they weren't tested because they had been submerged in water, but Fuschino pointed out that a forensic scientist in the trial said it still would be worth it to see if any DNA evidence had survived the soaking.

"I have the advantage now of getting to see the way that they put their case on".

Creato's then-girlfriend, who's now 19, was never charged, and they've broken up. Detectives push Creato over how he feels about his son. Among the evidence that jurors asked to hear again during their deliberations was testimony about Creato's cellphone use that night. Creato's lawyer, Richard Fuschino Jr., then sought to have the charges dismissed, claiming prosecutors had "put on no evidence to say that Brendan Creato was killed or that D.J. Creato was the person who killed him". Plus, he argued, Creato knew that if he didn't want custody of his son, the boy's mother and other family members would have cared for him. After the mistrial was announced, jurors left the courtroom through a back entrance.

Stensky was in NY when Brendan died, authorities said.

Three medical examiners ruled Brendan had died of "homicidal violence", but couldn't determine whether drowning, strangulation, or smothering - each of which can deprive the brain of oxygen - caused Brendan's death.

If he had walked the three-quarters of a mile to the creek and drowned accidentally, his socks would have been dirty.

Brendan's pajama-clad body was found slumped over a rock and partially submerged in a creek in woods about three-quarters of a mile from Creato's apartment on October 13, 2015.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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