A Suffolk Superior Court judge today discharged a juror in the Dwayne Moore trial and appointed an alternate to take his place after learning that the juror had done ballistics research online and shared it with fellow jurors.
After a suspenseful morning in which he interviewed all the jurors in the case, Judge Jeffrey Locke revealed what he had been quizzing them about and said he was satisfied that the remaining 11 could continue with the quadruple slaying case against Moore. He appointed a new jury from the pool of three alternates and ordered deliberations to resume.
“I cannot tell you how upsetting” that violation was, Locke told the jurors before they went back to work. “The juror went beyond the evidence in violation of my instructions.”
Moore, 35, allegedly killed 21-year-old Simba Martin; Martin’s girlfriend, Eyanna Flonory, 21; her 2-year-old son, Amanihotep Smith; and Levaughn Washum-Garrison, 22, Martin’s friend, who slept on a couch at Martin’s Sutton Street house on Sept. 28, 2010. A fifth man, Marcus Hurd, was shot in the head but survived. The cold-blooded slayings shocked the city.
Moore has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and defense attorney John Amabile has told jurors that his client is wrongly accused. It’s Moore’s second trial; the first trial, earlier this year, ended in an acquittal for Moore’s alleged co-conspirator and a mistrial for Moore.
Under the law, in order to ensure that defendants get a fair trial, juries must decide cases on the evidence that has been presented to them — not on any evidence from outside the courtroom.
Locke announced that there could be “serious consequences” for jury misconduct but did not specify what ramifications, if any, there were for the specific juror.
The juror dismissed was a middle-aged man. He was replaced by a male alternate, keeping the jury balanced at six men and six women. The jury was required to start their deliberations over, with the new juror participating. They deliberated about four hours today before being sent home.
Jurors in the trial were chosen from Worcester County residents and travel into Boston each day on a bus provided by the court system.
The request for Worcester County jurors came from the defense, which feared Moore could not be tried fairly by jurors drawn from the Boston area.
The jury has deliberated for just one full day since getting the case last Wednesday because a juror called in sick Friday and no trial goes forward without all of the deliberating jurors on hand.