Juror in Peachtree Mall trial removed after allegations of misconduct

Juror in Peachtree Mall trial removed after allegations of misconduct

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A jury member has been removed after allegations of misconduct, threats, and intimidation among other jury members surfaced and replaced with an alternate juror.

After a day and a half of deliberations, the jury notified the court of a possible hung jury, reporting they were unable to come to a unanimous vote on any of the 13 charges against the 3 defendants.

All three defendants, Xzavaien Jones, his sister, Tekoa Young, and Terell McFarland are charged with murder, aggravated assault, and violation of street gang terrorism and prevention.

Jones, who is accused of firing the deadly shots, is also charged with possession of a weapon during a felony.

Along with deliberation concerns, jurors also reported a jury member of verbally threatening other jurors about their views, name-calling, and even refused to deliberate with the group

The defense, seeing that the vote was split, motioned for a mistrial.

"This juror has an absolute right to be on this jury. Ms. Young and all these defendants have a right to that juror being there and she's should not feel like she has to give up her decision," said Defense attorney for Young, Mark Shelnutt.

While prosecutors motioned to have the one juror removed and replaced with an alternate.

"Insults related to disagreements about differing evidence and different conclusions about the evidence is one thing. But a threat is altogether different!," said Prosecutor, Pete Temesgen, “Two hours in, she has already made up her mind, and from then, until now, the deliberations has been filled with her attacking others."

Prosecutors also requested to question the jurors individually to find the extent of deliberation problems, a request the judge granted.

Jurors were questioned on allegations of assault, pressure, and intimidation, and participation by Judge Frank Jordan. during deliberations.

Of the 12 person jury, four reported being either physically or verbally intimidated by a fellow jury member while eight denied allegations.

"None of them said they have not been deliberating, none of them say that interfered with their deliberations, what we have got are people who disagree and differ, and there are some heated disagreements, and that happens," said Shelnutt.

After questioning, the judge ruled to remove the juror, on basis of misconduct, threats, and prior undisclosed information regarding criminal history.

The jury will return to court Monday morning at 9 a.m. for more deliberations in hopes to find a verdict.

Continue to follow News Leader 9's Sharifa Jackson on this trial.

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