Mistrial declared in Streamwood infant death to him

A Cook County judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the case of a Hanover Park woman charged with murdering her baby moments after giving birth three years ago and leaving him in a trash can in a Streamwood Salvation Army store restroom.

Jurors in the trial of Jessica Cruz, 22, indicated in several notes to the court that they had deadlocked. Late Wednesday, after 2½ days and about 20 hours of deliberations, the seven-woman, five-man jury sent Judge Bridget Hughes a note describing deliberations as having become "contentious" and "detrimental."

Their last note came late Thursday morning, at which time Hughes declared a mistrial.

Cruz next appears in court for a status hearing Nov. 21, with a tentative retrial set for early December. Prosecutors declined to comment.

"We're disappointed that there is not a resolution," said Cook County Assistant Public Defender Deana Binstock. "But I'm very impressed and proud of the jury. They took their responsibility and service seriously and I believe they did the best they could."

Prosecutors say Cruz, then 19, strangled her 6-pound, 11-ounce baby boy on Nov. 4, 2011, wrapped him in a plastic bag and put him in the trash because she feared her mother's reaction to her unwanted pregnancy, which she kept hidden from everyone except the baby's father.

Defense attorneys argued that the baby did not survive the birthing process and that Cruz panicked after giving birth in a restroom stall.

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