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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jurors: race talk tainted panel

Three members of the jury that convicted a black trash collector in the rape and murder of a white fashion writer on Cape Cod said in sworn statements that other jurors made repeated racist remarks during deliberations, at one point almost triggering a fight. In affidavits filed Monday that lie at the heart of a motion seeking a new trial for Christopher M. McCowen, the three jurors said other members of the panel referred to the defendant as an intimidating big black guy and voiced fears that he was staring at them. The affidavits also asserted that one juror described bruises on Christa Worthington, the victim, as the predictable result when a 200-pound black guy beats on a small woman. The remarks prompted one of the jurors who submitted an affidavit to call another juror a racist and almost led to a fight between the two women, who had to be separated, the affidavits said.

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