ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A Ramsey County judge declared a mistrial on Friday for a St. Paul man accused of attempting to kill his ex-wife by dumping a toxic liquid on her.
Thorbjorn MacBain was charged with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly throwing liquid nicotine on his ex-wife during a custody visit with their two children at a Roseville park in September 2020.
During the trial on Wednesday, the victim took the stand and testified about the alleged poisoning that nearly killed her. However, during the cross-examination, an evidentiary issue emerged. It involved the woman’s cell phone and text messaging history with MacBain. Specifically, what messages had been deleted and when, and what the defense was given access to as part of what’s known as evidence discovery in the case.
Proceedings were immediately halted, with MacBain's lawyer, Joe Tamburino, demanding a mistrial, arguing all texts between MacBain and his ex-wife are critical to the defense’s case, even those going back years before the alleged poisoning.
Ramsey County District Court Judge Sara Grewing invited the parties to submit written arguments on Thursday with plans to make a decision before the trial resumed.
The judge declared a mistrial on Friday "based on the findings made on the record" and sent the jury home when additional issues with the woman’s text messaging history emerged.
A new court date has not been scheduled as of Friday afternoon. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office told FOX 9 on Friday, "We are weighing our legal options and will make a formal decision in the next few days" on the potential for a second trial.