Murder Case for Williams’ Sister Leads to Mistrial

The case against one of the suspects in the slaying of Yetunde Price, 31, sister of tennis super stars Venus and Serena Williams, came to a standstill last Friday when jurors could not reach a verdict.  The Superior Court Jury hung 9-3 in favor of acquitting Aaron Michael Hammer, 25.

Hammer is accused of shooting price with a .22 caliber handgun, but prosecutors believe that the fatal shots did not come from that weapon.  Robert Edward Maxfield, 24, is the other suspect in the case who is believed to have used the weapon that actually killed Price.  They are both members of the Southside Crips, and prosecutors believe Maxfield was seeking revenge on someone Price might have been with from a rival gang.

Since two juries were formed, the jury trying the case for Maxfield will resume next Monday.

Price was shot in the back of the head while riding through Compton in a sport utility vehicle shortly after midnight in September 2003.  She was the mother of three and a beauty shop owner.  Price was also a personal assistant to her sisters, who began their tennis careers in the same area where she died.  The Williams family plans to release a statement today.

Hammer, who was arrested a few hours after the shooting took place, has admitted to firing at least six shots at the SUV of Price.  California state law allows a murder charge to be applied when a person takes part in a crime in which a person is killed another.