Mobile, Alabama (WKRGMore) — Thursday was the second day the court heard arguments about whether one of the jurors in the Jonathan Nakula case was eligible to serve as a lay judge based on where he lived.
The defense reiterated that Melinda Pate lived in Baldwin County during the time she was summoned as a juror, even though she testified that her father’s home in Mobile County was her permanent residence.
Prosecutors argued that Pate’s driver’s license and voter registration had his father’s address on it, but defense said Pate’s car had been registered at his girlfriend’s home in Loxley for the past three years. submitted a document to
Tasha Stimel is Pate’s girlfriend’s neighbor. She testified that although she had often seen Pate’s car there, she had no idea of the couple.
“Probably every day,” Steiml said. “But I don’t pay much attention to it.”
The defense also called two sheriff’s deputies to the witness stand. Both testified that they attempted to send documents to Pate’s father’s address in 2020 and 2023. In both cases, lawmakers were told by Pate’s father that Pate had moved and no longer lived there.
“It is clear that this person is not a mobile resident, and we feel that we knew she was not a mobile resident,” said Denise Kunisley, a lawyer for Narkura. “We don’t want anything bad to happen to him, but we do want our client to have a fair trial and a jury of colleagues, but this case Well it wasn’t.”
The defense also alleges that Pate moved in with his girlfriend on March 8, before the trial ended. They believe Pate’s disqualification was granted for this action.
Circuit Court Judge Wesley Pipes disagreed, saying there is no rule that jurors cannot move during a trial. And he said there is no rule that jurors must notify the court if they do so.
Judge Pipes said Pate’s life was “nomadic” as he spent time in many places between Mobile and Baldwin counties with family and friends.
Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood told News5, “The juror in question has a home in Mobile County, and like many other jurors, lives in Mobile County and elsewhere. This does not disqualify you from being a juror in Mobile County.”
Nakura was convicted of murder in March 2020 for crashing and killing American medical student Samantha Thomas, who was a drunk driving passenger, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in April. .
Thomas’ family said, “The fact is that Samantha’s death was caused by his murder weapon, a car and alcohol, even if there is a new trial, and we believe that he will be found guilty again and possibly. I hope it saves my life next time.”
Judge Pipes said in court Thursday that there are several things to consider about this “vague and slippery” allegation before deciding on the defense’s retrial request.
He is due to deliver judgment by Tuesday, otherwise the 60-day deadline from the date of Mr. Nakula’s ruling will be exceeded and the motion will be dismissed.
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