A mistrial was declared yesterday in the murder case against a woman defended by northern California attorney Daniel Horowitz, whose wife was bludgeoned to death over the weekend, reports the Los Angeles Times. Judge Laurel Brady cited heavy news coverage of Pamela Vitale’s killing in dismissing jurors in the case against Susan Polk. Polk contends that she stabbed her therapist husband, Felix, in self-defense after decades of abuse.
The case will be retried once the slaying of Vitale, 52, is resolved, said Ivan Golde, co-counsel in Susan Polk’s defense. “If this case had been allowed to go forward, there would have been so many conflicts an appellate court would have had to untangle it from beginning to end,” said Golde, who noted that the same pathologists, investigators and crime scene specialists who investigated Felix Polk’s death are now working on Vitale’s, and that juror sympathy for Horowitz might have necessitated a change of venue. Polk allegedly stabbed her husband in the pool house of their home in an upscale suburban enclave east of the San Francisco Bay, not far from the remote hillside property where Vitale was bludgeoned Saturday. The murder provoked national media interest because Horowitz is a frequent freelance legal analyst on CNN, MSNBC, and other networks.