Death Row Inmate Could Get A New Trial

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Attorneys for one of the three men on Colorado’s death row are asking a judge to overturn the verdict and give their client a new trial because of alleged juror misconduct.

It was June of 2008 when a jury returned its verdict. Sir Mario Owens was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Javad Marshall-Fields and Vivian Wolfe were murdered after he was threatened not to testify in another case.

 

Vivian Wolfe and Javad Marshall-Fields (credit: CBS)

Vivian Wolfe and Javad Marshall-Fields (credit: CBS)

Their car was riddled with bullets in a drive by shooting.

The victims’ mothers welcomed the verdict. At the time Christine Wolfe told CBS 4, “Justice has been served and we are living in peace.”

But Owens’ mother lashed out at the jurors saying, “To me they are no different than what they accused them of.”

Now in court documents Owens’ attorneys are alleging one of the jurors lied on a questionnaire about not having any convictions, lied about her education, spoke with a witness and more.

The possibility of  coping with a new trial does not sit well with now State Senator Rhonda Fields who lost her son.

“It is traumatizing, agonizing difficult to hear how someone had calculated and ambushed someone you loved,” she said.

 

Rhonda Fields (credit: CBS)

Rhonda Fields (credit: CBS)

The prosecution argued a new trial is not needed in this case.

But legal analyst Karen Steinhauser says what Owens’ attorneys have claimed are important if verified.

“The court could find all of these allegations, if true, could have an effect on the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

If the judge finds that trial was affected he could order the case to be heard again by a new jury. The juror whose conduct is in question failed to appear at a previous court session and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Along with Sir Mario Owens, Robert Ray was convicted in the murder of the couple. He is also on death row along with Nathan Dunlap, convicted in the 1993 Chuck E Cheese murder case, but has received a temporary reprieve from Governor John Hickenlooper.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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