COLUMBUS, Ga. — The jury in the Peachtree Mall murder trial has a new foreperson after she was replaced by an alternate after members of the jury shared some thoughts in the courtroom on Friday.
Early in the day on Friday, a discussion arose about the conduct of the forewoman. The state said that if the deliberations are being hindered, the court should know about it.
After lunch, Judge Frank Jordan brought the jury in to see how the deliberation process was going. The foreperson told the judge that the jury turned in 11 to 1 votes for Xzavaien Jones’ charges; 11 to one on Young’s charges with the exception of an eight to four vote her gang violence charge.
In addition, the jury had a six to six vote on Terrell McFarland’s malice and felony murder charge. In addition, there was a seven to five vote on the aggravated assault charge and a five to seven vote on the gang violence charge.
When asked, the foreperson told the court that the jury had deliberated, there was no intimidation or insult during deliberation. When the judge asked the individual jurors if there was any intimidation or insult, four jurors said yes.
Those jurors were asked to write down their experiences on paper. Those notes were read aloud to the court. A juror said the forewoman was not deliberating fairly, insulted other jurors because of their view of the law, some had felt threatened by her and said she was about to ”snap” on somebody. In addition, a juror said the forewoman referred to a juror as ”Dr Phil” and that nobody could change her mind. In addition, a juror said the foreperson also mentioned a former charge.
Prosecutors told the court that the foreperson had a vendetta against the state from being indicted in 2008 in Harris County for aggravated assault, which was knocked down to misdemeanor battery.
“The foreperson should not be able to insult them,” Assistant District Attorney Pete Temesgen said. The foreperson should not be able to cite her past involvement with a serious charge like aggravated assault as a basis for her threat.”
Defense attorneys felt there was no basis for the foreperson to be removed. Three of the defense attorneys: Mark Shelnutt, Nancy Miller and William Kendrick asked for a mistrial.
“Nobody has said that the juror has not deliberated. That’s what they are supposed to do. What you have are differences that are going to come up when people have different views of the evidence. None of these exhibits give rise anywhere close to removing her from the jury.”
The foreperson had told the court that the other jurors had made their minds up too quickly and that they had disagreements with her.
Deliberations are set to continue Monday morning at 9 a.m.