*In an apparent case of “jury’s make mistakes too,” a man they set free, who the judge now claims should not have been set free, is dead.
In the trial of one Bobby Lee Pearson, 37, a burglary defendant, jurors erroneously signed a not-guilty form on Wednesday, shocking the judge who claims he then had no choice but to let Pearson go because the verdict had already been put on the record.
But amidst all of the confusion surrounding Pearson’s freedom, the man himself was later in a fight, and stabbed to death.
By the time the jury discovered their mistake, it was too late.
Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin later learned that the jurors had stalled on an 8-4 vote in favor of guilt. Prosecutors may have had an opportunity to retry Pearson, but by that time any changes to the verdict form would have exposed Pearson to double jeopardy.
“I can’t believe it,” said Judge Hamlin after setting Pearson free, according to The Fresno Bee.
Apparently, following his release from jail, Pearson stopped by the home of Lasandra Jackson, his sister, to pick up some personal items. There, according to Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer, he ran into her boyfriend, 35-year-old Willie Gray -who he had a bad history with – and the two got into a fight.
Dyer says investigators believe Gray killed Pearson, who was found dead in the street with a chest wound from a knife or gun and a cut on his stomach. Investigators found a steak knife near the body, Dyer said.
Gray was arrested and treated for injuries to his hands before being booked on suspicion of murder, said Dyer, who added that Pearson might still be alive if it weren’t for the jury’s “mishap.”
Pearson had a long criminal past, Dyer said.
Read more about this MSN News story here.