Trial for Immigrant Smuggling Truck Driver Begins This Fall

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HOUSTON (AP) - The retrial of a truck driver accused in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt is scheduled to begin this fall.

Jury selection in the trial of Tyrone Williams was set to begin October 3.

Prosecutors say Williams drove a tractor-trailer full of illegal immigrants in May 2003. They say he abandoned the vehicle near Victoria after they began succumbing to the deadly heat.

Nineteen immigrants died in the failed smuggling attempt.

Williams was convicted last year on 38 counts in the deaths of the illegal immigrants.

He was spared the death penalty on 19 of the counts eligible for capital punishment.

The jury deadlocked on 20 other counts and a mistrial was declared.

But a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that since the jury didn't answer questions about Williams' responsibility -- it failed to convict him on any offense.

The ruling allows prosecutors to retry Williams on all 58 counts of harboring and transporting illegal immigrants he originally faced.