Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sex among jurors could mean new trial

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- A convicted murderer says his Missouri guilty verdict should be thrown out because two of his jurors allegedly had sex while sequestered at a hotel.

An attorney for Roberto Dunn, convicted eight years ago of killing his girlfriend's mother, is asking St. Louis Circuit Judge Julian Bush for a new trial because of the recently discovered alleged sexual escapades involving two jurors, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported Monday.

Shortly after Dunn was convicted in 2000, Bush received a letter from a juror making the accusations against fellow jurors, and adding, "Sexual liberties by deputy sheriffs were rampant also," alleging that two sheriff's deputies guarding the jurors also had sex while on duty at the hotel.

Dunn's trial lawyers put the letter under seal and requested for a new trial but were refused. But his current attorney, Assistant Public Defender Lisa Stroup, says she found the letter and criticized the former attorneys whom, she said, should have pushed harder for a new trial, including calling the jurors as witnesses and quizzing them about the claims, the Post-Dispatch reported.

If the judge agrees with Stroup, he can give Dunn a new trial, the newspaper said.

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