Ouster of Yet Another Denny Juror Sought : Trial: Defense attorneys contend that the woman aided the prosecution during testimony. The legal challenge again puts the panel’s deliberations on hold.

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<i> From Associated Press</i>

The fate of deliberations in the Reginald O. Denny beating trial was thrown into question again Wednesday when defense lawyers asked for the removal of yet another juror.

Attorneys for Damian Monroe Williams and Henry Keith Watson asked the judge to dismiss juror No. 104--an Anglo woman they unsuccessfully had sought to remove during testimony--for allegedly aiding the prosecution.

Superior Court Judge John W. Ouderkirk scheduled a closed afternoon hearing to discuss the request.


Earlier this week, the judge removed two other jurors and both times ordered a newly constituted jury to restart deliberations. Three other jurors were removed before the racially sensitive case went to the jury Sept. 30.

The dismissed jurors were replaced with alternates. Deliberations can be held with 11 jurors if both sides agree. If either side objects, a mistrial is automatically declared.

Edi M.O. Faal, who represents Williams, insisted that his motion had nothing to do with the race of juror No. 104, who appears to be in her 20s. The last remaining alternate also is an Anglo woman. Jurors’ identities are secret.

Faal said his objection to juror No. 104 stemmed from her conduct during the trial. During cross-examination of a witness, Deputy Dist. Atty. Lawrence C. Morrison covered the corner of a courtroom video monitor so the witness could not see the time recorded on the videotape.

But juror No. 104 pointed out to the prosecutor that the witness was still able to see the time on another monitor in the court. Faal said that showed that the woman was acting more as an advocate than an independent juror.

Ouderkirk denied the initial request to remove the juror.

Williams, 20, and Watson, 29, both African-Americans, are accused of crimes against Denny, an Anglo trucker, and others at the outset of last year’s riots. They face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.


On Monday, the judge removed a middle-aged African-American woman from the jury after ruling that she was not deliberating. Other jurors had complained that she lacked common sense and had asked that she be removed.

Legal scholars called the dismissal highly unusual and possibly grounds for overturning the verdict on appeal.

The judge’s action angered defense attorneys, who called for a mistrial, which was denied.

A middle-aged Anglo man was sent home Tuesday to deal with personal problems unrelated to the case.

With the second dismissal, the judge also threw out two verdicts that had been reached.

Before deliberations began, two women jurors were excused for health reasons and one man was dismissed for allegedly talking about the case with friends.

The jury currently has four African-Americans, two Anglos, two Asian-Americans and four Latinos.