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Jury in Kellen Winslow II case deadlocks on 8 counts; convictions on rape, indecent exposure stand

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Kellen Winslow II (third from left) stands, along with his defense team (from left) Marc Carlos, Brian Watkins, and Emily Bahr, as the jury enters the room on Tuesday during the second day of the verdict readings at Vista Superior Court on Tuesday, June 11.
Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune

Vista Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman declared a mistrial on deadlocked counts against the former NFL player

A Vista judge on Tuesday, June 11, declared a mistrial on eight felony and misdemeanor counts in the case of ex-NFL player Kellen Winslow II, who was accused of committing several sex crimes against women in North County last year, including rape.

Although the Superior Court jury deadlocked, it leaned in favor of convicting Winslow on all remaining charges.

Jurors voted 10 to 2 in favor of guilt on the question of whether he had raped a teen girl in 2003.

The chasm was wider — 7 to 5 in favor of guilt — in the question of whether the one-time Pro Bowl player had kidnapped and raped a 54-year-old hitchhiker in Encinitas last year.

The District Attorney’s Office likely will announce Friday, June 14, whether they plan to retry Winslow on any of those charges. Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens said knowing the jury was leaning toward finding Winslow guilty would be a “significant factor” in the decision.

One of Winslow’s attorneys said division among member of a jury indicates reasonable doubt.

“They were in there fighting for a week and unable to come to a conclusion, which means 12 reasonable minds had to differ,” attorney Brian Watkins said.

The mistrial has no bearing on the verdicts the same jury revealed on Monday, June 10, finding Winslow guilty of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman, exposing himself to a 57-year-old woman and committing a lewd act in front of a 77-year-old woman.

“He was shocked by the verdict,” defense attorney Emily Bahr said Tuesday, June 11, adding that Winslow’s family is “upset, of course, disappointed by that outcome, but they know the team is going to move forward and continue to fight the case.”

Jurors acquitted Winslow on a second count of committing a different lewd act in front of the 77-year-old woman, who twice encountered Winslow at a Carlsbad gym.

Winslow is looking at up to eight years in prison for the rape conviction and faces lifetime registration as a sex offender. He could get an additional year for the misdemeanor convictions. No sentencing date has been set.

Had the panel convicted Winslow of raping more than one woman, he faced a life sentence. If he is retried and convicted of raping a second woman, he could again be looking at life in prison.

The defendant is the son of Chargers tight end and Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow.

The younger Winslow had a football career of his own, and was welcomed to the NFL as a first-round draft pick in 2004. He went on to make a reported $43 million over 10 seasons.

The rape trial, which started with opening statements May 20, drew heavy media coverage including some national attention. Court TV streamed the proceedings live.

All five accusers testified. As is his right, Winslow did not take the stand.

Jury deliberations started the afternoon of June 4.

On Monday, June 10, the jury said it had reached partial verdicts, but were deadlocked on several counts. Judge Blaine Bowman took the verdicts the jury had reached, then ordered the panel to keep deliberating on the other charges.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 11, the jurors sent a note to the judge that they remained deadlocked. Bowman then declared the mistrial on those counts and dismissed the panel.

What the deliberation hangups may have been is unclear. The jurors declined to speak to reporters after the mistrial. However, the entire jury shared their thoughts with attorneys on both sides behind closed doors — but the lawyers refused to share specifics of what jurors had said.

“My take away from that conversation is that 10 jurors did feel very strongly that he had committed forcible sexual offenses against more than one victim,” Owens said.

That, he said, was something his office would “consider very strongly” in deciding whether to retry the case.

Watkins said the defense plans to appeal the convictions.

“We are not going to be satisfied until he is exonerated and back home with his family,” Watkins said.

In March 2018, a 54-year-old woman reported she had been thumbing a ride when a stranger picked her up and raped her behind a shopping center off Santa Fe Drive.

Two months later, a 58-year-old homeless woman reported that an acquaintance Kevin — whom she later identified as Winslow — offered to take her for coffee, then raped her somewhere along Manchester Avenue.

And less than two weeks later a 57-year-old reported she had been tending her flowers when a bicyclist entered her yard, tried to chat with her then exposed himself.

In mid-June, authorities charged Winslow in those incidents. The news of the case prompted another women to come forward and say he had raped her in 2003.

And in February, a 77-year-old woman reported two recent incidents with him at a Carlsbad gym.

Winslow is due back in court Friday, June 14. Possible topics include whether prosecutors will retry the case, and potentially to set a sentencing date.

-- Teri Figueroa is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune