CAMDEN — Jurors were dismissed Wednesday after they told a Superior Court judge they couldn't reach a verdict in the case of a man accused of killing his 3-year-old son.

Judge John Kelley declared a mistrial, one day after the jury told him they couldn't agree on a verdict against David Creato. Kelley rescheduled a conference for July 5 to reschedule a new trial.

Creato, known as D.J., maintained that his 3-year-old son, Brendan Creato, wandered away from his Haddon home in October 2015. The boy would have turned 5 on Thursday.

Creato called 911 to report his son missing when he realized the child wasn't in the residence, and the boy's pajama-clad body was found hours later in a wooded area by the Cooper River about a mile from the home.

During the trial, Camden County prosecutors said the boy's neon green socks were clean, which would be impossible if he had wandered away from home. They also noted that about a month after the slaying, in a conversation secretly recorded by the boy's mother, Creato spoke about "a spirit" drawing his son to the woods where he was found dead.

A medical examiner testified Brendan died from "homicidal violence" but couldn't determine where or when he died. Brendan's brain showed an abnormality consistent with oxygen deprivation that can be caused by asphyxiation, drowning or strangulation, but it couldn't be determined which of those led to his death.

Prosecutors spent nearly 10 days presenting their case, but the defense took just 20 minutes before resting. Creato's lawyer, Richard Fuschino Jr., then sought to have the charges dismissed, claiming prosecutors had "put on no evidence to say that Brendan Creato was killed or that D.J. Creato was the person who killed him."

Kelley rejected the motion, saying that prosecutors had showed motive and enough evidence for jurors to decide whether Creato was guilty.

Prosecutors had maintained Creato killed his son because he feared his 17-year-old girlfriend, who was away at college, was going to leave him. She had made it clear she didn't want to be around his child and wanted him to give up custody. The girlfriend, who's now 19, was never charged, and they've broken up.

Also on New Jersey 101.5:

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM