Perhaps the drums beaten on Buju Banton's behalf this weekend by Rastafarian elders at a two-night vigil in Jamaica had an effect: A mistrial wasdeclared Monday for the reggae singer, who was arrested in December on suspicion of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.
Jurors, who began deliberations Thursday in Tampa, Fla., told the judge twice Monday that they could not come to a decision after the four-day trial. Banton is also charged with aiding two others in possessing a firearm during the course of cocaine distribution.
Though Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was returned to lockup, his attorney has requested he be released on bail. The singer, who faces up to life in prison if convicted, testified that taped conversations in which he discussed cocaine with a government informant were meant only to impress the man, not to set up an actual drug deal. Bob Marley's son Stephen Marleytestified as a character witness on Banton's behalf.