A convicted murderer in Tennessee has a shot at getting his guilty verdict and life sentence overturned based on a Facebook messagea juror sent to a witness who testified during his trial.
The juror knew the witness, a medical examiner who trained at Vanderbilt University, where the juror is employed. After she testified, he sent her a message on Facebook to tell her that he thought she did a great job.
Glenn Scott Mitchell: “A-dele!! I thought you did a great job today on the witness stand … I was in the jury … not sure if you recognised me or not!! You really explained things so great!!”
Adele Maurer Lewis: “I was thinking that was you. There is a risk of a mistrial if that gets out.”
Scott Mitchell: “I know … I didn’t say anything about you … there are 3 of us on the jury from Vandy and one is a physician (cardiologist) so you may know him as well. It has been an interesting case to say the least.”
Jurors are not allowed to talk to any witnesses throughout the course of the trial.
Lewis turned the Facebook messages over to the trial judge shortly after deliberations began, but the court decided that the messages did not influence the outcome of the trial.
The jury found defendant William Darelle Smith guilty of murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
Now, the conviction and life sentence could be thrown out, and there could be a retrial. The state supreme court ruled that the accused murdered should be granted a hearing to determine “the nature and extent of the improper communications” between the medical examiner and the juror.
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