Late-Night Juror Admission Causes Mistrial for Kevon Neal, Accused in Crash Death of Prince George's Police Officer

"The actions of this juror are a complete disgrace," says Prince George's state's attorney.

Trial for Kevon Neal, 24, was declared a mistrial Thursday.|Photo credit: PGPD
Trial for Kevon Neal, 24, was declared a mistrial Thursday.|Photo credit: PGPD
A mistrial was declared Thursday in the case of a man facing vehicular manslaughter charges in the death of a Prince George's County police officer, after a juror sent a late-night email to to the judge claiming she could not pass judgment in the case due to religious beliefs. 

Kevon Neal, 24, of Fort Washington, was facing vehicular manslaughter charges in the death of Prince George's County police officer Adrian Morris. Morris, 23, was killed when his cruiser careened off I-95 near Powder Mill Road in August 2012. 

According to police, Morris had been pursuing a silver Acura thought to contain two suspects who stole a purse at a Shell gas station in Laurel. The car reportedly cut across multiple lanes quickly, causing Morris to veer off the road as he attempted to dodge braking vehicles. Police accused Neal of being the driver of the fleeing vehicle, which was determined to be stolen. 

“The actions of this juror are a complete disgrace,” Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement.  “This is a very serious matter in which a police officer lost his life and it appears this juror simply did not take their role seriously at all.”

The juror's statements led to her nullification, causing a mistrial in the case. 

Potential jurors were questioned during selection and were asked if they would be unable to serve due to religious beliefs. The juror in question did not speak up at that time, according to the state's attorney's office. The state's attorney's office said the juror told "multiple different stories," leading Alsobrooks to call the juror's actions "highly irresponsible."

The judge in the case, the Honorable Michael Pearson, can decide whether to hold the juror in contempt of court. 

The case will be retried sometime in May or June, Alsobrooks said. 

“We will absolutely continue to seek justice on behalf of officer Morris,” Alsobrooks said in a statement. 

Jenni Pompi January 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM
@Skye—Yes, I understand. The jury had already begun deliberations when the juror decided she could not sit in judgement. Deliberations began Wednesday and were continued to Thursday due to the late hour. It was Wednesday night, after the case had already been deliberated for several hours and jurors let go for the evening, that the juror asked to be excused.
Jay Friedman January 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM
Jenni, If you could review your notes: Was this juror asked during the selection process, if religion would be a factor in serving for this case? The WaPo headline indicated the juror just determined a position, vs.waiting until the end to change position. If the juror was not lying during selection, then changing position this late in the process is suspect. Prince Georges has a history of jury tampering.A phone call, an email, a knock on the door, a note on a windshield have all in the past led to a juror doing, or saying something that caused a mistrial. The defendant is facing serous jail time for this event and might not want to go to jail. He clearly did not want to pull over while driving the stolen car.
Jenni Pompi January 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM
@Jay—According to the SA's office, jurors were asked specifically during selection if they would be unable to serve due to religion, and this juror did not come forward at that time.
Jay Friedman January 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Thank you Jenni. SA office was aware of this jurors religion and its stand on judging others. Juror should have been grilled more intensely on this issue. I am certain that the juror would have acknowledged that she was not 100 committed to her answer. This trial is too important to leave anything to chance. An officer was killed because of the actions of the car thief. The family deserves better justice. Police deserve better justice. I do not read stories like this from Fairfax, Arlington, Montgomery Counties very often. Seems like we have an over abundance of them here in Prince Georges County.


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