Mistrial Declared in Douglas County Murder Trial Over Virus

The Associated Press

The trial of a Nebraska man charged with two murders will be rescheduled after the suspect’s sister, who had been sitting in the courtroom, tested positive for COVID-19.

Douglas County District Judge Marlon Polk declared a mistrial Monday in the case of Nyir Kuek, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three firearms charges in the June 2019 deaths of Michael Sykora, 57, and Tracy Atkins, 50, in a Florence-area home.

Kuek’s sister was in court for opening statements Friday and later informed attorneys she had tested positive for COVID-19, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said the safest action would be to reschedule the trial. Prosecution and defense attorneys agreed with the recommendation.

The trial was the first in the county for several months because of the coronavirus pandemic. The trial was delayed in March and Kuek agreed to have his trial serve as a test for future trials because he was eager to have his case heard, the World-Herald reported.

Jurors’ temperatures were checked each morning of the trial, which started last week. Masks also were being required and seating in the courtroom was reconfigured to allow for social distancing.


User login

Omaha Daily Record

The Daily Record
3323 Leavenworth Street
Omaha, Nebraska
United States

Tele (402) 345-1303
Fax (402) 345-2351