Mistrial declared in slaying of man found near Pass Christian

Stephen Matlock Hagin
Stephen Matlock Hagin

A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the murder case against Stephen Hagin, arrested in the 2014 shooting of Brian Bachtel.

Bachtel’s skeletal remains were found near Pass Christian on June 20, 2014. He’d been missing more than two weeks when his remains were found in woods behind a Bells Creek Road home. Hagin, 29, is from Saucier. So was Bachtel, who was 38.

The defense on the first day of trial this week invoked a court rule that one’s spouse could not testify against them, District Attorney Joel Smith said.

Hagin’s wife was not allowed to testify for the prosecution, he said.

Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson declared a mistrial when testimony arose of hearsay comments Hagin’s wife gave deputies after his arrest.

Hagin had been arrested on a capital murder charge. A Harrison County grand jury indicted him on a murder charge.

Smith said the trial has been rescheduled for Sept. 11.

Hagin remains in custody. He is held with no bond.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews