A mistrial was declared Friday in the case against a man charged with robbing, stabbing and attempting to kill a good Samaritan in Santa Ana.

Abel Perez Jr.
Abel Perez Jr.
Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly declared the mistrial when jurors failed to reach verdicts after a few days of deliberations. The jurors acquitted Abel Perez Jr., 41, of a felony count of attempted carjacking.

The jurors were otherwise deadlocked 11-1 and 9-3 for guilt on multiple other felonies for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and gang activity.

Several jurors explained to attorneys that some of the panelists had questions about photo lineups police prepared for the defendant to finger his attacker.

Kelly set Nov. 6 for a retrial.

Perez’s girlfriend at the time of the Nov. 8, 2012, attack — Devon Sue Cornelison — pleaded guilty in May 2014 to robbery with a gang enhancement and was scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 28. She could face up to 15 years in prison.

The victim — Miguel Delgado — testified that he had just gotten off work as a Zamboni driver at an ice rink in Anaheim and stopped at a 7-Eleven store in Santa Ana to get cash for his rent and gas when he was approached by Cornelison.

Cornelison asked the victim if he had any jumper cables. When he said he did not, she said she had some and would he help her jumpstart her car, Delgado testified.

Delgado drove her to an apartment complex at 917 N. Bewley St., where she said a 1995 GMC sport utility vehicle she was using had broken down. Delgado grew leery because he knew they were now in a gang-infested neighborhood and he tried to back out of helping the woman, he testified.

Then Perez approached the 2002 Nissan Delgado was driving and before he knew it, the defendant was also in the car, Delgado testified.

“He threatened me, asking for my money and keys,” Delgado testified.

When Delgado resisted, “he stabbed me in the chest and said, ‘Give me your money and keys before I (expletive) kill you,” Delgado testified.

Perez then stabbed the victim in the knee and, “He kept on threatening me,” Delgado testified.

“I felt warm blood gushing out so I ran out of the car,” Delgado testified.

A knife-wielding Perez kept chasing him, Delgado testified. When he heard Cornelison starting the car, the victim ran back to the vehicle because, “It was my ex-girlfriend’s car and I didn’t want it to get stolen,” Delgado testified.

A scuffle ensued in the car as Delgado struggled to push Cornelison out while Perez was stabbing at his head, Delgado testified.

He tried to call police on his cell phone, “but my hands were too slippery with blood,” Delgado testified.

Eventually, Delgado shoved Cornelison out, but she grabbed the phone and car keys, Delgado testified. Cornelison, however, left her purse behind, he said.

Delgado — now locked inside the car — offered to give Cornelison the purse back if she handed the keys and phone back to him, but she refused and ran away, Delgado testified.

He managed to get Perez to back off and flee when he leaned on the horn for help, Delgado testified.

Eventually neighbors in the apartment complex heard the ruckus and called police, he said.

Delgado was taken to an area hospital, where he was placed in the intensive care unit, and was released a week later, he testified. He was stabbed 14 times in the chest, a knee, hands and head, he said.

He had to quit his job at the ice rink because the cold atmosphere was too painful on his joints, he testified.

The pair was caught after Santa Ana police put a trace on the victim’s cell phone, Deputy District Attorney Anna McIntire told jurors. Cornelison’s purse included an ATM card belonging to Perez’s sister, McIntire said.

Perez’s DNA was “all over” the sport utility vehicle, McIntire said.

The trace led police to Perez’s cousin, who had bought the phone from Cornelison and Perez, McIntire said.

— City News Service

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