(Tunica) Transcripts of the Mississippi highway murder reveal some interesting insight into what happened in the judge’s chamber moments after the court recessed.
Witness intimidation and the man on trial, James Willie, being Tased led to jurors being sent home.
Willie was on trail for the murder of Fitzgerald’s casino employee Lori Anne Carswell, who was found dead along I-69 in 2012.
The judge says he will enter an order soon about why he ordered the mistrial, but you can tell a lot from reading the transcript of what happened inside his chambers and out of the jury’s presence.
The two days of testimony absorbed by the jurors will go nowhere now that they’ve been sent home and the case ended in a mistrial.
WREG asked one juror how he felt about being dismissed.
The juror didn’t want to talk to us, and neither did any of the other jurors we contacted.
However, those who would talk to us off camera said they were curious to hear the truth. That’s something they’ll have to wait on after the judge ordered a mistrial.
Judge Albert Smith didn’t give specifics about why he called off the trial but a look at the transcript from his chambers after James Willie was Tased may give some insight.
After he was zapped, Willie fell, then officers put him in handcuffs.
As court was being recessed, Willie had another outburst saying, ‘You ain’t got to do me like that.’
In chambers, Willie told the jurors he was concerned jurors saw him in handcuffs. He told the judge they were not supposed to see that.
Even the prosecutor mentioned she was concerned about the trial going forward.
The prosecutor told the judge Willie’s outburst might cause some jurors to have sympathy for him.
The judge told all parties in his chambers because of both sides’ concerns, the judge decided it was best to call for a mistrial.
Another concern was a key witness in the case, the former girlfriend of James Willie.
She said she felt threatened by Willie’s brother but said she would testify.
That was discussed, but wasn’t cited as a reason for mistrial.
Willie is also accused of killing a Nebraska man on Interstate 55 in Panola county.