A mistrial was declared Thursday when jurors deadlocked on attempted murder on a peace officer charges against a graphic designer accused of opening fire on deputies who responded to his San Juan Capistrano home nearly six years ago.
Jurors deadlocked 11-1 for acquittal for Robert Case Fee on two felony counts of attempted murder on a peace officer with sentencing enhancements for discharge of a firearm.
A hearing is scheduled for Monday to discuss how to proceed with the case.
Fee has been behind bars since his arrest April 27, 2016.
Orange County sheriff’s deputies were called to Fee’s home at 27586 Paseo Castile about 6:30 p.m. April 27, 2016, when his wife reported her husband was suicidal and was in their garage with guns, according to court records.
When the deputies arrived, Fee “unleashed a hail of automatic rifle fire on two Orange County sheriff’s patrol deputies responding to his San Juan Capistrano home,” Deputy District Attorney Jake Jondle said in his trial brief for the case.
Fee’s wife, Kelly, called 911 because he threatened to kill himself, Jondle said.
After Fee opened fire on responding deputies they “scrambled for cover at the trunk of the car,” Jondle said.
The deputies then scrambled for cover behind another car that responded to the scene, Jondle said.
The deputies never returned fire, he said.
Fee put the weapon down and walked out from the garage and was arrested without incident, Jondle said.
“Miraculously, all the deputies escaped without being struck by any of the bullets as did the residents of the surrounding homes,” Jondle said.
Fee’s attorney, Jack Earley, wrote in court papers that the defendant’s wife locked him in the garage and hid in their home with their two children, ages 3 and 7, as she called 911.
When deputies arrested Fee he had an “overwhelming odor of an alcoholic beverage” on his breath, Earley said.
Fee was “sweating profusely, slurring his speech and had bloodshot, watery eyes,” Earley said.
Fee’s wife said he had suffered from depression since she met him in junior high school, Earley said.
Fee, who is a graphic designer, had gotten into a dispute earlier that day at work and went home, where he alarmed a co-worker with text messages, Earley said.