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Jury Duty - the real thing

Today I spend a few hours at the Middlesex County Courthouse in Cambridge waiting to see if I would be called to a jury. I wasn't (there were two sets of people that were) and most of us went home at 1:30. Since Massachusetts has a one-day/one-trial system that suffices to meet my obligation for a while.

A few years ago I was on the one-trial side of it and today's work prompts me to post about it which I will do in several posts.

Jesse McKieLate at night on January 25, 1990, Jesse McKie, a 21 year old young man was walking down Windsor St in Cambridge by the Newtowne Court housing project. He was accosted by a bunch of guys who demanded his leather jacket. They took it from him and then beat him and stabbed him to death. While this was going on, Rigoberto Carrion, a slightly older man, came by (or maybe he was with Jesse) and he too was stabbed and killed.

There were witnesses that weren't too close to be in harm, one of them in his Newtowne Court apartment called 911 and the police and ambulances showed up. It was too late to save Jesse; Rigoberto died a few days later. The police picked up two or three of these guys and brought him to the Central Square police station and jail. Several hours later, a car with driver and passenger were driving the wrong way up a one-way street to the Police station to see what happened to their friends. They were also picked up. The murder weapon was never found.

One of the six became a state's witness and in February of 1992 a homicide trial was about to begin. It was to be a joint trial and four were accused of 1st degree murder, and one was an accessory. One of accused's trial was separated. I was one of the 16 chosen to be on this jury which was forecast to take 4-6 weeks.

(to be continued)

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Different memories

One of the defendants on this trial was tried separately, and I was on the jury for his trial. According to my notes, Rigoberto Carrion was not with Jesse McKie -- and in fact, in our trial there was a witness called who was walking down the street just before McKie came along, he was accosted by the gang that killed McKie and Carrion, but he managed to run away (both McKie and Carrion had had a few drinks, which may have slowed down their reaction time).

Here's the story we heard about the murder weapon (we heard this after the trial was over) -- When the police picked up the first group, they were in a van. The law said that when police pull over a vehicle, they can confiscate anything in the front seat, but taking anything out of the rest of the vehicle requires a search warrant (unless they have probably cause to search). One of the cops who pulled them over was a rookie, and she searched the back of the van, and found the knife which was the murder weapon. Unfortunately, that knife could not be introduced as evidence in the trial.

Cheers, Dan

P.S. My account of the trial I served for can be found here: http://www.danielharper.org/blog/?p=506

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