Retrial ordered in slaying of Boyz II Men manager because of extra juror
CHICAGO (AP) _ Who says 13 is an unlucky number?
Not Christopher Babbington, who was convicted in 1994 of second-degree murder in the 1992 shooting of Boyz II Men road manager Roderick Roundtree. He received a 14-year prison sentence.
But Babbington was granted a new trial recently after it was discovered that, through a fluke, 13 jurors were involved in the deliberations instead of the proper number, 12.
Attorney Emily Eisner, a public defender assigned to handle the appeal, found the legal quirk.
``This borders on being unheard of,″ she said.
Twelve jurors and three alternates were selected to hear the trial. The alternates were dismissed, but as a courtesy, they were invited to stay in the jury room for dinner before deliberations began.
Two alternates decided against having dinner and left, but the one who stayed and ate wound up participating when deliberations began, unbeknownst to court officials.
The jurors were polled by Judge Bertina Lampkin after they returned with a verdict. When Lampkin asked if she had missed anyone, the alternate raised her hand.
Prompted by Lampkin, the juror identified herself and affirmed her guilty verdict.
``I just missed it,″ said Thomas Peters, who represented Babbington. ``But so did the prosecution and so did the judge.″