Mistrial declared in Harpersville murder case

Published 12:57 pm Friday, September 19, 2014

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—The trial for a Harpersville woman charged with murder was declared a mistrial on Sept. 19 after more than 30 hours of jury deliberation.



Shonta Cohill, 37, was charged with fatally stabbing her boyfriend, 55-year-old Humphrey Keith of Harpersville, on July 18, 2012.

Police officers and rescue personnel responded to a call at a Harpersville residence and found Humphrey Keith unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Harpersville Police Chief David Latimer said following the incident in 2012.

“He had an obvious puncture wound in his chest, and several witnesses reported that they saw him be stabbed by his 35-year-old girlfriend,” Latimer said at the time of the incident.

Cohill was arrested on July 19, 2012 and was released from the Shelby County Jail after posting $75,000 bond on Aug. 1, 2012, according to court documents.

On Jan. 29, 2013, Cohill pleaded not guilty during her trial in front of Shelby County Circuit Judge Dan Reeves.

Closing arguments for the trial ended on Wednesday, Sept. 17. And jurors had been deliberating for more than 24 hours.

Eventually late Friday morning Judge Reeves brought the jury in and declared a deadlocked jury. Assistant Shelby County District Attorney Doug Smith gave his thoughts on the jurors’ deadlock.

“As in any case when you don’t get a desirable outcome you will feel disappointed with it,” said Smith. “Our main goal was to bring the family closure in this case. With that said, I feel like we did our best to explain to the jury the evidence and everything involved in the case.”

A date for a mistrial will begin in early 2015 at the earliest, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s office.