And so it begins…. All of the relevant material is encapsulated within this Saint Louis Dispatch report. The juror obviously held an agenda, and manipulated his way onto the jury intent on creating antagonism. He sat through the MURDER trial, then when it came to deliberations, presto – he sat in corner and refused to participate.
Result = Mistrial
ST. LOUIS • A five-day murder trial ended in a hung jury last week in St. Louis Circuit Court when one of the jurors sat in the corner of the jury room and refused to participate in deliberations.
“The DinDuNuffins” – Ralph Alexander, 20, and Dontrell Sanders, 25,
The lone juror never cast a vote over the nine hours of deliberations, said the judge presiding at trial, St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie M. Edwards.
The jury forewoman wrote nine notes to the judge over two days, alerting him to the trouble they were having with “Juror 1317” in the secret deliberations of the jury room.
She told the judge that the dissident juror at first pretended he didn’t speak English. The man, about 40 years old, is from Somalia but does speak English and had no issues during jury selection or in reading a transcript during the trial itself, the judge said. The man later told the other jurors — and the judge — that it was against his religion to sit in judgment of someone else. Edwards said the man never mentioned anything of the sort during the selection process.
In the end, because Edwards said he couldn’t take a verdict with just a partial vote, he declared a mistrial for the defendant, Dontrell Sanders. Edwards said he needed all 12 jurors to agree, and the juror was the holdout. It was too late to call back the alternate juror, who had already been dismissed and left the courthouse when the jurors were sent to deliberate, Edwards said.
The juror, identified only by last name in court documents, could not be reached for comment. Edwards admonished the uncooperative juror Friday in open court for violating his oath as a juror and threatened to have him arrested for contempt, though in the end he did not do so.
“I was pretty upset,” Edwards said Tuesday. “Five days of court taken up.”
A new trial in the case was set for March 9.
Sanders is accused of the April 5, 2012, shooting death of Tracy D. Jones, 47, who was gunned down as he sat in a car in the 1500 block of Whittier Street. A second defendant, Ralph Alexander, 22, is also awaiting trial separately. Police say the men also were involved in a nonfatal shooting the same night a block away. (read more)