Judge declares mistrial in Burnet man’s manslaughter trial


BURNET — A state district judge granted a defense request for a mistrial during the second day of criminal proceedings against Joe Daniel Sosa, who was charged in the 2011 death of a Burnet man.

Sosa faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter and drug charges in connection to the death of 21-year-old Charles Caleb Christiansen. Authorities discovered the Christiansen’s lifeless body on Dec. 14, 2011, in his Burnet home.

A Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office report ruled the man died from methadone toxicity.

After a several-month investigation, Burnet Police charged Sosa in April 2012 with providing the drug to Christiansen that eventually led to the man’s death.

A Burnet County Grand Jury indicted Sosa on manslaughter and drug charges in June 2012.

33rd Judicial District Judge Allen Garrett declared the mistrial March 26 citing “improper contact among potential jurors.”

Court officials said one of the jurors apparently knew the victim and, during a break in the jury selection process, discussed the case with another individual in front of the juror pool.

Garrett reset Sosa’s trial for April 29.

Sosa, 41, is being held in the Burnet County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bonds on both charges.