Judge declares mistrial for two Lufkin counselors

Mark Sutton mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Mark Sutton mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Juanda Morgan mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Juanda Morgan mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County Jury, after a full day of deliberations Tuesday, could not reach a verdict in the trial of two Lufkin professional counselors.

District Judge Paul White declared a mistrial. Neither the state nor defense objected.

Juanda Morgan and Mark Sutton were charged with aggravated perjury following Morgan's testimony in a child custody hearing, in which she said Mike Shelfo yelled at her in a previous conversation. Shelfo then produced a taped recording of the conversation which prosecutors said he did not yell at her.

Case numbers 28501 and 28502 are nothing more than numbers for most. But to the family of  Sutton and Morgan, they represent six grueling days of trial.

"It's beyond grueling," said Martha Sutton, family of Mark Sutton.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict in the perjury case, so the judge declared a mistrial.

"After six days of  trial and deliberation, nine hours of deliberation we really appreciate their dedication and service and their attempt to try to read a verdict in this case," said Al Charanza, Sutton's attorney.

The state is tight-lipped because the case is still open. The possibility of Morgan and Sutton being re-tried still looms over their family.

"I guess I can't really feel totally relieved because I guess they could be tried again," said Martha.

"We hear that may be possible, but I seriously hope and doubt that they will do it again," said Keith Sutton, Sutton's father.

If the case goes back to trial, the question is when. For Morgan and Sutton, it's a question the family said will keep their lives in limbo.

"They'll probably still will be wondering exactly what's going to happen," said Martha.

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