Juror dismissed after report of murder trial comments

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 1:47 PM
Last updated 2:24 PM
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A Superior Court Judge today dismissed a juror from a murder trial for discussing the case with other jurors and possibly proclaiming his belief that the defendants are innocent.

Judge James G. Blanchard said the man was told, along with all jurors, prior to the start of the trial for Willie Bernard Butler Jr. and Martin Napoleon Holmes that he was not to discuss the case prior to jury deliberations and not to form an opinion before all the evidence was presented.

Judge Blanchard, who would identify the man only as Juror 12, said the juror seemingly violated those directives.

Judge Blanchard said he first heard of the possible misconduct via a note he received Wednesday evening from other jurors about Juror 12’s statements and from a bailiff.

Columbia County sheriff’s Deputy Ken Waller, the bailiff, testified to Judge Blanchard that he overheard Juror 12 telling other jurors on Wednesday afternoon that he felt he “had no right to take those two young men’s lives in his hands.”

Two other jurors said that Juror 12 told them he already had formed an opinion in the case, and one juror told Judge Blanchard that Juror 12 “flat-out said the boys are innocent.”

When questioned by Judge Blanchard, Juror 12 said he didn’t feel like the prosecution made its case and that he recognized the victim, 33-year-old Rickey Gibson of Grovetown, from a photo introduced into evidence.

However, Juror 12 never admitted to proclaiming Mr. Butler, 20, and Mr. Holmes, 18, as innocent.

Along with three other men – Karmbi Octavious Young, 20, Patrick Booker, 19, and Garland Ray Pittman, 15 – Mr. Butler and Mr. Holmes are accused of killing Mr. Gibson during a September 2008 home invasion. A jury convicted Mr. Young of the crime in August.

Juror 12, whose name the court would not release until the conclusion of the trial, will be replaced by an alternate.

Defense attorneys Victor Hawk and Alexia Davis asked Judge Blanchard to declare a mistrial, but he denied the motion.

Comments (10) Add comment
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storiesihaveread
369
Points
storiesihaveread 10/01/09 - 12:51 pm
0
0
Oh good lord Victor Hawk,

Oh good lord Victor Hawk, must have been a ploy he had to get a mistrial. Low life lawyer

thereishope
1
Points
thereishope 10/01/09 - 01:12 pm
0
0
I'm telling you!

I'm telling you!

notsurprised
88
Points
notsurprised 10/01/09 - 03:49 pm
0
0
As someone who was a

As someone who was a potential juror, though not picked, I seem to believe this story. I overheard idle chatter from a group of people alluding to the fact that these boys were innocent. The burden of proof is on the state. Maybe they didnt do too well in showing that proof.

Sharky
0
Points
Sharky 10/01/09 - 05:38 pm
0
0
Actually Vic is a damn good

Actually Vic is a damn good lawyer, one day you may find yourself in a position of innocence....wouldn't you want someone like Vic on your side to fight will all his might? Just saying......remember a defense attorney's job is to make sure the prosecution is doing their job and to make sure that the Consitution is upheld for ALL of us.

rt7171
73
Points
rt7171 10/01/09 - 06:22 pm
0
0
This juror has wasted the

This juror has wasted the state's time (our tax dollars) by not telling the Judge that he/she recognized the victim. I say the juror should be charged. It is a crime to deceive the courts. This juror has a responsibility to inform the Judge that he/she knew the victim. I don't know if the defendant is guilty because I have not heard ALL the evidence, but neither had this juror before he/she made up his/her mind. I would venture a guess that this juror didn't do well in school because he/she cannot keep quiet until it is his/her time to speak. If the defendant is found guilty, this will be one of the appeals that will cost us (tax payers) to defend in court.

notsurprised
88
Points
notsurprised 10/01/09 - 09:12 pm
0
0
Every potential juror was

Every potential juror was directly asked if they knew anyone involved in the case. Not just the defendants and the victims, but everyone. This includes law enforcement, extended family, neighbors of, friends of etc. rt71 is correct, there is no excuse. If you cant be completely neutral in hearing both sides, be honest about it!!!

1941
4
Points
1941 10/02/09 - 05:55 am
0
0
How old do a ''boy'' has to

How old do a ''boy'' has to be, before he is called a man?

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 10/02/09 - 08:20 am
0
0
1941 what do you mean. I see

1941 what do you mean. I see no reference in the article. but in my younger days a boy was a boy until the age of 21, then a young man at 21 to about 30, a man after that and then an older man after 60

ANOTHER-PERSON
0
Points
ANOTHER-PERSON 12/22/09 - 11:28 am
0
0
let me tell all of you

let me tell all of you something, that juror disclosed he knew the victim and "one"the defendants... hmmm, had he have kept his mouth closed then the jury wouldn't have reached a verdict and it could have been declared a mistrial. stupidity, lol. they can appeal for 20 years, but guess what? they were found guilty, the state did show evidence proving that these "boys" (meaning not yet a man) were involved. maybe not the trigger man, but they were there and took part in killing a "man"!!!!!

RAWR
0
Points
RAWR 12/22/09 - 11:52 am
0
0
I for one am glad that they

I for one am glad that they suffer from stupidity. Letting killers loose on a technicality? Good for Judge Blanchard for not calling a mistrial.

seenitB4
98620
Points
seenitB4 12/22/09 - 03:03 pm
0
0
I heard Vic Hawk is a very

I heard Vic Hawk is a very good lawyer,,,if you ever need one..

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