ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — The prosecution’s first attempt to try Mason Sisk for the 2019 murder of five family members in Elkmont ended in a mistrial in late September.
The Limestone County District Attorney’s office is bringing the case again and both sides are gearing up for what is expected to be a lengthy trial.
A mistrial was declared after prosecutors told the court midway through the trial that the crime lab was finally able to unlock Sisk’s mother’s phone. Limestone County Circuit Judge Chad Wise then ordered a mistrial, ruling the defense was entitled to review material from that phone before the case could go forward.
However, information from Mary Sisk’s phone isn’t the only major detail expected to change when the case is retried.
Last week Judge Wise granted the prosecution’s request to gather a DNA sample from Mason Sisk. The prosecution wants to test to see if Sisk’s DNA matches any traces found on the alleged murder weapon. The defense says that DNA collection hasn’t happened yet.
Sisk was 14 in Sept. 2019 when his parents and three younger siblings were killed. During his first trial in Sept. 2022, prosecutors played a video showing Sisk confessing to the killings after a lengthy interview.
The defense has argued information from that interview should be tossed because Sisk was questioned for an extended period before he was read his Miranda rights.
The prosecution has argued that Sisk wasn’t in custody when he was detained by deputies at the scene, and later sat in a pickup truck with then-Sheriff Mike Blakely, apparently with no recording devices turned on to record the conversation.
A suppression hearing is set for Dec. 2 related to the statements and other evidence the defense wants barred from the planned retrial. That retrial is currently set for Feb. 13.
The defense is also seeking to have its own expert examine the gun that prosecutors say Sisk used to kill his family.
And, there is still an open question on whether an FBI lab or other expert can unlock Sisk’s father’s phone.
That issue and the schedule for both sides to examine the alleged murder weapon could impact when the trial actually starts.