Local News

Two Jurors Speak Out About Mays Mistrial

Posted August 6, 1998

— The second murder trial of an accused cop killer gets underway Monday. Kawame Mays is currently serving a life sentence for killing one man, but the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in the murder of Detective Paul Hale. Many have wondered what the problem was. How could the jury decide about the death of one man and not the other?

WRAL's Amanda Lambspoke with two of the original jurors Friday about what went on in the jury room last May.

After hours of deliberations, the jury in the Kawame Mays trial failed to reach a verdict in connection with the death of Hale.

"It was very difficult deciding on the mistrial," said former juror Kendra Hansford. "We felt like we let a lot of people down, that was the hardest part."

Now a new jury will try again

A lot of lawyers believe that who they pick to sit in this jury box may be the single most important factor in determining a defendant's guilt or innocence. After the trial, the district attorney talked to the original jurors to gain insight.

"(I) took the comments that the jurors made about the evidence and looked at ways to emphasize things the jurors thought were particularly important," said District Attorney Colon Willoughby.

"It was extremely challenging, it was one of the most difficult things I've ever done," said former juror John Phillips.

Phillips believes the state should re-emphasize the same points.

"Somehow you got to step through methodically that series of events that would prove to anyone that they knew it was a policeman," he said.

Hansford says despite long negotiations, one juror held out.

"You get someone who's simply not objective and there's nothing you can say or do," said Hansford.

That's something the state hopes to avoid this time around.

Friday, the defense lost its last appeal with the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which means the trial will begin Monday. Lawyers say jury selection could last as long as two weeks.


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