A judge declared a mistrial Friday after jurors were unable to agree on a verdict in the case of former cook Xiubin Mei, charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in a 2011 meat cleaver attack at an Elk Grove Village restaurant.
The jury acquitted Mei, 62, of the attempted murder of a female co-worker. But they deadlocked on whether Mei committed aggravated battery against the woman and restaurant owner Rui Zhong. They also deadlocked on whether he attempted to murder Zhong.
Prosecutors have not yet indicated whether they will retry Mei on the charges that deadlocked the jury.
Mei claims he acted in self-defense after Zhong fired him, ordered him to leave and punched him in the face, bloodying his nose and loosening two teeth.
Mei testified that he grabbed the knife to scare Zhong and prevent any additional punches.
Zhong, 44, testified he warned Mei he was thinking about firing him because Mei was working too slow. Zhong suffered cuts to his face and lacerations to his ear and a finger, which prosecutors say was nearly severed in the attack. The female co-worker, who tried to intervene, suffered a head laceration which required between 13 and 15 staples to close.
Jurors began deliberations Thursday afternoon and resumed about 10:30 a.m. Friday morning at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.
Defense attorney Barry Spector said his client was happy with the verdict that jurors returned. But "he realizes the case isn't over," Spector said.
Judge Ellen Mandletort set a May 10 status date in the case.
If convicted, Mei could face up to 30 years in prison.