A mistrial was declared in a homicide trial Friday after a Monroe County juror allegedly researched details of the 11-year-old case on her cell phone during jury deliberations.


The actions of Juror No. 3, identified as Marjorie Smith, infuriated Judge Jonathan Mark. The judge, who scheduled a March 31 deadline for Smith to explain to the court why she should not be held in contempt of court, told Smith she might want to consider hiring a lawyer.


“I’m pretty livid right now,” Mark said. “What you did was wrong.”


Mark said the sanctions he may impose “could be significant.”


Smith could face a fine and jail time for trying to obtain information about the case outside of the testimony and evidence presented in court, a clear violation of Mark’s repeated reminder throughout the trial to the jury not to do that.


As a result of what Smith did, Mark said, “everyone has to come back and do this again.”


Besides the lost time and money and strain on court resources, Smith’s actions mean the family members of the victim, who were in court for the four-day trial, will have to “relive it once again,” Mark said.


The mistrial in the case against Phillip Vonville means Vonville will now face a third trial on third-degree homicide charges in the stabbing death of Christopher Hernandez, a 19-year-old man who was seeing Vonville’s ex-girlfriend.


Although Vonville admitted to police he killed Hernandez, his Stroudsburg lawyer Robert Saurman argued Vonville “snapped” that day and essentially didn’t know what he was doing, and therefore could not have formed the intent to kill, which is a requirement for proving murder.


Chad Martinez, an assistant district, argued Vonville was fully aware of what he was doing the day he plunged a martial arts throwing knife into Hernandez’s abdomen while Hernandez, who was unarmed, was sitting in his pickup truck.


The jury began deliberating Friday afternoon, following closing arguments by Martinez and Saurman, and by 4 p.m. the deliberations were abruptly halted and the jury was sent home, with the exception of Juror No. 3, who was then called before Mark, who informed Smith she had broken the law.


The trial, which was in its fourth day, was the second time Vonville had stood trial for third-degree murder.


At his first trial, Vonville was convicted and sentenced to 20 to 40 years in state prison. But Vonville won a new trial last year after claiming his constitutional rights were violated by the late former Monroe County Judge Ronald E. Vican when the judge allegedly told the jury it could infer Vonville was guilty because he did not testify, a statement that violated Vonville’s constitutional right to remain silent.


During this week’s trial the jury heard extensive testimony about Vonville’s love life and numerous girlfriends who were described as “friends with benefits,” meaning the friendship included sexual relations. The jury also reviewed multiple text messages between Vonville, his ex-girlfriend, whom he began dating when she was 17 years old, and Hernandez. In many of the text messages Hernandez referred to Vonville as a “puppy dog.”


Hernandez, who was unarmed, was sitting in his pickup truck Sept. 9, 2009, when he was fatally stabbed by Vonville, who then tried to commit suicide by slashing his wrist and stabbing himself in the abdomen.


On the witness stand Vonville said he only vaguely remembered what happened that day, other than the fact he woke up in the hospital after surgery.


Saurman argued the case revolved around only one thing: Vonville’s state of mind at the time of the stabbing. He referred to Vonville’s statements when he said “it was like watching somebody else” when it happened.


“The whole case is Mr. Vonville’s mindset,” Saurman told the jury.


Martinez referred the jury to statements Vonville made to the police at the hospital, in which he said Hernandez was trying to get away.


“He was fully aware of the situation,” Martinez said. “He knew what he was doing.”


Martinez said Vonville, a trained martial artist who always carried knives, was angry because he was losing control over the girlfriend who was seeing Hernandez.


Martinez mocked Vonville’s assertions that he was all about family and love. The prosecutor referred to Vonville’s contact list in his cell phone, and said 16 of the 24 contacts were women with whom he had a sexual relationship. Martinez said Vonville was all about control and “girls, girls, girls.”


Vonville, who is from Delaware, began pursuing a “swinger” lifestyle after he moved to the Poconos in 2007, according to trial testimony.