Rock wall owner requests acquittal

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:45 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Attorneys for a climbing wall owner accused of second-degree involuntary manslaughter filed a motion for acquittal Monday in Boone County Circuit Court.

Matt Woods and Pat Eng, defense lawyers for Marcus Floyd, 31, plan to call a motion to acquit at a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. July 7. Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks said barring changes, the state plans to retry the case.

Judge Gene Hamilton declared a mistrial June 17 when jurors returned deadlocked after nearly nine hours of deliberations.

In the motion to acquit Floyd, Eng and Woods said the jury’s 10-2 deadlock was in Floyd’s favor, and the evidence is insufficient to convict him.

“We think that our motion has merit and we want the judge to look at it again in light of what has happened,” Eng said.

Floyd was arrested in August and later charged with second-degree involuntary manslaughter. Christine Ewing, 22, of Jefferson City fell to her death last July when a cable snapped as she was climbing Floyd’s portable climbing wall.

The motion for acquittal holds that the prosecution did not establish a standard of care for climbing walls, did not show that Floyd deviated from this standard of care and “failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was the owner of the portable rock climbing wall.”

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