Ward trial: Jury can't agree, will return to talks Friday

By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal

6:00 POST
TUPELO – Thomas James Ward’s jury is locked up right now. They’ll go home and come back Friday morning to continue deliberations.
(AFTERNOON ACTION)
5:37 – Judge enters courtroom. Jury has been deliberating last night and throughout today.
Couple of matters to make record.
First, this afternoon sometimes … got two notes from jury: Shown to lawyers and handed to clerk and filed. No verdict yet. Should ascertain as well as can where they are and what attitude is about further work.
For record, counsel, ….. I have handed to each of you proposed court’s instruction C-18, considering giving to them.
Bowen -OK. Fleitas – SAys should not be given, tht effect is coercise and improper intrusion into deliberation of jury. Object to C-18.
Judge – I understand. Counsel any other matters?
Fleitas – Asks for a partial verdict prior to any mistrial or anything else, if necessary.
Judge – Not at that point.
Jury back.
Judge – Thanks for hard work. Want to continue, if we possibly can because we have now expended eight full days i the trial of a matter which is extremely important, as all caes are. REalize you worked late last night, hour or so. Been here today and undoubtedly you hae worked hard. Your appearance tells me you are serious, I appreciate very much. You indicated in one way or another… in note… that you are not unanimous on any manner. Any objection to calling on foreperson.
Who is it? (Woman raises hand.) Asks her to speak for the jury.
Worked hard. I have one other insturction, Fleitas objects. I don’t want to do anything wrong yet my job calls on me to make incorrect decisions. I first want to know …and ma’am don’t want you to call names or tell me any vote. You said in note that … my words… not deeadlock but hard to reach unanimous state. (That’s correct.) I don’t want you to beat your head against brick wall. Would you be offended, foreperson, if I asked you to continue longer… tonight or tomorrow. Would have option. Eating and working. Or, if helpful, to go home and coming back tomorrow. (I think that would be all right, but can’t speak… think maybe go home and come back. We’d be willing to work further, your honor.)
Instruction C-18 … this is respectfully given. Asks them to reexamine own views if convinced it’s erroneous but don’t give up your opinions for mere purpose of returning a verdict. Continue your deliberations.
We understand your difficulties and are grateful to you to continue the challenge. I’m not willing to quit at this point without further effort. I’m not instructing anybody to change an opinion, to work together to reach unanimity if they can. Hope that doesn’t offend anyone.
Like to go home now? I know you’ve had a difficult day. We want you to be rested, see family, etc. Is that what you’d prefer? To go home now… (Forewoman – go home now.)
Judge asks them to return at 9 a.m. Have a restful evening as you can.
FLEITAS – ASKS TO APPROACH BENCH.
Attorneys confer with judge.
Judge – Any other matters? No, counsel say.
JUDGE SAYS I want them to work as long as they want to work in this case.
Judge – Any other matters? No, counsel say.
FLEITAS – TWO REQUESTS
1. For partial verdict – Understand that wasn’t going to happen today.
2. With respect to remarks to jury about C-18, I believe … that court remarked that … I know objections taken outside jury … court remarked to jury prior to giving it that counsel for Mr. Ward objected to the giving the instruction. Defense submits mention of my objection is prejudicial to defendant and object to fact that it was made to the jury.
JUDGE – you are absolutely correct. It slipped out and I should not have done it. Tomorrow will tell jury to totally disregard the remark.
Fleitas – No personal offense. Gravity of the matter, We say highly prejudicial
Judge – apologize, will try to correct it best as I can in the morning
Polling of the jury, it is my belief … and when asked if jury was unanimous in any area, they said not, seems that foreperson indicated not unanimous … those are my words… I have not foreclosed that option, as I have stated. WE can revisit that matter again (partial verdict). It is not foreclosed.
Recess at 5:56 p.m.
9:37 POST
TUPELO – Thomas James Ward’s jury began its first morning of deliberations on whether he is guilty or not in the death of Anna Catherine McCoy.
Ward, 25, is on trial accused of depraved-heart murder in her April 15, 2010, shooting.
The 12-member jury began its deliberations about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
From the judge’s instructions, the jury’s choices are – not guilty, or guilty of depraved-heart murder or manslaughter by culpable negligence.
A life sentence is mandatory for depraved-heart murder. The judge may set up to 20 years on a conviction for the manslaughter charge.
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9:21 – Judge James L. Roberts Jr. enters courtroom.
Case went to the jury about 6:45 p.m. yesterday. Jury organized, elected a foreman, then decided to go home and resume deliberations today.
Bailiff says all 12 jury members present.
Believe we should bring them into the courtroom for a short status conference, for lack of a better word. For me to further instruct them, etc. NO OBJECTIONS from attys.
(Jury comes into courtroom.)
JUDGE – Want to touch base with you briefly. Exhibits secured overnight, will be returned to jury room for your use. Continue your deliberations. As day proceeds, you have no instructions as to how long this takes. It takes as long as it takes to do your work. Only to deliberate with all 12 of you in the jury room. If someone needs to leave the room, with a bailiff, all deliberations cease until all 12 of you are there. Foreperson is charged with ensuring that deliberations are done only with all 12.
9:29 – Jury returns to jury room.
JUDGE – One matter I want to make a record of. A jury list from which we worked will be included in record. For record, 5 females, 7 males, one African American, one female appeared to be possibly Hispanic. I place that in the record for whatever purposes may be necessary. Three alternates were white males. FLEITAS – Only question about the female’s ethnicity. No other observations.
Ask that you be as close as you can be for a verdict or a question by the jury. (He says to the attorneys.)
Says to spectators … this is simply a matter of waiting. We will wait as long as it takes.
Court will be in recess. 9:34.
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